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Sjme Account of the Ancient Greek Philosophers i 

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De FiHiBus, A Treatise oh tbk Cuiuw Good and Evil , 93 


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In the works translated in the present vohime, Cicero 
makes such constant references to the doctrines and systems 
of the ancient Greek Philosophers, that it seems desirable 
to give a brief account of the most remarkable of those 
mentioned by him; not entering at length into the history 
of their lives, but indicating the principal theories which 
they maintained, and the main points in which they agreed 
with, or differed from, each other. 

The earliest of them was Thales, who was born at Miletus, 
about 640 b.c. He was a man of great political sagacit}- and 
influence ; but we have to consider him here as the eai-liest phi- 
losopher who appears to have been convinced of the necessity 
of scientific proof of whatever was put forward to be believed, 
and as the originator of mathematics and geometiy. He was 
also a great astronomer; for we read in Herodotus (i. 74) 
that he predicted the eclipse of the s\m which happened in 
the reign of Alyattes, king of Lydia, B.C. G09. He asserted 
that water is the origin of all things ; that everything is pro- 
duced out of it, and everything is resolved into it. He aisc 
asserted that it is the soul which originates all motion, so 
much so, that he attributes a soul to the magnet. Aristotle 
also represents him as saying that everything is full of Gods. 
He does not appear to have left any written treatises behind 
hira : we are uncertain when or where he died, but he is said 
to have lived to a great age — to 78, or, according to some 
writers, to 'JO yvM-a of age. 



A naxlviander, a countiyman of Thales, was also born at 
Milelus, about 30 years later; he is said to have been a pupil 
of the former, and deserves especial mention as the oldest 
l)lulo.sophicid writer among the Greeks. He did not devote 
himself to the mathematical studies of Thales, but rather to 
speculations concerning tlie generation and origin of the 
world; as to which his opinions are involved in some ob- 
scurity. He appeal's, however, to have considered that all 
things were formed of a sort of matter, which he called 
TO uLirapov, ov The Infinite; which was something everlasting 
and divine, tliough not invested with any spiritual or intel- 
ligent nature. His own works have not come down to us; 
but, acco?"ding to Aristotle, he considered this " Infinite" as 
consisting of a mixture of simple, unchangeable elements, 
from which all things were produced by the concurrence of 
homogeneous particles already existing in it, — a process which 
he attributed to the constant conflict between heat and cold, 
and to affinities of the particles: in this he was opposed 
to the doctrine of Thales, Anaximenes, and Diogenes of Apol- 
lonia, who agreed in deriving all things from a single, not 
chauf/eahle, principle. 

Anaximander further held that the earth was of a cylin- 
drical form, suspended in tlie middle of the universe, and 
surrounded by water, air, and fire, like the coats of an onion ; 
but that the interior stratum of fire was broken up and col- 
lected into masses, from which originated the sun, moon, and 
stars; which he thought were canned round by the three 
spheres in which they were respectively fixed. He believed 
that the moon had a light of her own, not a borrowed light ; 
that she was nineteen times as large as the earth, and the sun 
twenty-eight. He thought that all animals, including man, 
were originally produced in water, and proceeded gradually 
to become land animals. According to Diogenes Laertius, he 
was the inventor of the gnomon, and of geographical maps ; 
at all events, he was the first person who introduced the use 
of the gnomon into Greece. He died about 547 B.C. 

Anaximenes was ak-jo a Milesian, and a contemporary of 
Thales and Anaximi'uder. We do not exactly know when he 


was bom, or when he died ; but lie must have lived to a very 
great age, for he was in high repute as early as B.C. 544, and 
he was the tutor of Anaxagoras, B.C. 480. His theory was, 
that air was the first cause of all things, and that the other 
elements of the universe were resolvable into it. From this 
infinite air, he imagined that all finite things were formed by 
compression and rarefaction, produced by motion, which had 
existed from all eternity; so that the earth was generated out 
of condensed air, and the sun and other heavenly bodies from 
the earth. He thought also that heat and cold were prodiiced 
by different degrees of density of this primal element, air; 
that the clouds were formed by the condensing of the air ; and 
that it was the air which supported the earth, and kept it in 
its place. Even the human soul he believed to be, like the 
body, formed of air. He believed in the eternity of matter, 
and denied the existence of anything immaterial. 

Anaxagoras, who, as has been already stated, was a pupil of 
Anaximenes, was born at Clazomense, in Ionia, about B.C. 499. 
He removed to Athens at the time of the Persian war, where 
he became intimate with Pericles, who defended him, though 
unsuccessfully, when he was prosecuted for impiety : he was 
fined five talents, and banished from the city; on which he 
retired to Lampsacus, where he died at the age of 72, He 
differed from his predecessors of the Ionic School, and sought 
for a higher cause of all things than matter: this cause he 
considered to be vov<;, intelligence, or mind. Not that he 
thought this vous to be the creator of the world, but only 
that principle which arranged it, and gave it motion; for his 
idea was, that matter had existed from all eternity, but that, 
before the vov^ arranged it, it was all in a state of chaotic 
confusion, and full of an infinite number of homogeneous and 
heterogeneous parts; then the vow? separated the homoge- 
neous parts from the heterogeneous, and in this manner the 
world was produced. This separation, however, he taught, 
was made in such a manner that everything contains in it.'-elf 
parts of other things, or heterogeneous elements ; and is what 
it is only on account of certain homogeneous parts which 
constitute its predominant and real character. 
5 2 


Pythagoras was earlier than Anaxagoras, though this latter 
liiis been mentioned before him to avoid breaking the con- 
tinuity of the Ionic School. His father's name was Mnesar- 
chus, and he was born at Samos about 570 B.C., though some 
accounts make him earlier. He is said by some writers to 
have been a pupil of 'i'hales, by others of Anasimander, or o 
Plierecydes of Scyros. He was a man of great learning, as 
a geometrician, mathematician, astronomer, and musician; 
a great traveller, having visited Egypt and Babylon, and,, 
according to some accounts, penetrated as far as India. 

Many of his peculiar tenets are believed to have been derived 
Iroin the Tyrrhenian Pelasgians, with whom he is said to have 
been connected. His contemporaries at Crotona in South Italy, 
where he lived, looked upon him as a man peculiarly con- 
nected with the gods; and some of them even identified him 
with the Hyperborean Apollo. He himself is said to have laid 
claim to the gifts of divination and prophecy. The religious 
element was clearly predominant in his character. Grote 
Siiys of him, " In his prominent vocation, analogous to that 
of Epimenides, Orpheus, or Melampus, he appears as the 
revealer of a mode of life calculated to raise his disciples 
above the level of mankind, and to recommend them to the 
favour of the gods " (Hist, of Greece, iv. p. 529 ) 

On his arrival at Crotona, he formed a school, consisting at 
first of three hundred of the richest of the citizens, who bound 
themselves by a sort of vow to himself and to each other, for 
the purpose of cultivating the ascetic observances which he 
enjoined, and of studying his religious and philosophical 
theories. All that took place in this school was kept a pro- 
found secret; and there were gradations among the pupils 
tliemselves, who were not all admitted, or at all events not at 
first, to a full acquaintance with their master's doctrines. 
Tliey were also required to submit to a period of probation. 
Tlie statement of his forbidding his pupils the use of animal 
food is denied by many of the best authorities, and that of his 
insisting on their maintaining an unbroken silence for five 
years, rests on no sufficient authority, and is incredible. It is 
ber jnd our purpose at present to enter into the question of Lev 


far the views of Pythagoras in founding his school or club of 
three hundred, tended towards uniting in this body the idea 
of " at once a philosophical school, a religious brotherhood, 
and a political association," all which characters the Bishop 
of St. David's (Hist, of Greece, vol. ii. p. 148) thinks were 
inseparably united in his mind; while Mr. Grote's view of 
bis object (Hist, of Greece, vol. iv. p. 544) is very different. 
In a political riot at Crotona, a temple, in which many of his 
disciples were assembled, was burnt, and they perished, and 
some say that Pythagoras himself was among them ; though 
according to other accounts he fled to Tarentum, and after- 
wards to Metapontum, where he starved himself to death. 
His tomb (see Cic. de Fin. v. 2) was shown at Metapontum 
down to Cicero's time. Soon after his death his school was 
suppressed, and did not revive, though the Pythagoreans con- 
tinued to exist as a sect, the members of which kept up the 
religious and scientific pursuits of their founder. 

Pythagoras is said to have been the first who assumed 
the title of ^tXoo-o</)os ; but tliere is great uncertainty 
as to the most material of his philosophical and religious 
opinions. It is believed that he wrote nothing himself, and 
that the earliest Pythagorean treatises were the work of 
Philolaus, a contemporary of Socrates. It appears, how- 
ever, that he undertook to solve by reference to one single 
primary principle the problem of the origin and constitution 
of the universe. His predilection for mathematics led him 
to trace the origin of all things to number ; for " in numbers 
he thought that they perceived many analogies of things 
that exist and are produced, more than in fire, earth, or 
water : as, for instance, they thought that a certain condition 

of numbers was justice ; another, soul and intellect, 

And moreover, seeing the conditions and ratios of what per- 
tains to harmony to consist in numbers, since otiier things 
seemed in their entire natm-e to be formed in the likeness of 
numbers, and in all nature numbers are the first, they 
Btipposed the elements of numbers to be the elements of nil 
things." (Arist. Met. i. 5.) 

Music and harmony too, clayed almost as important a 

VI Till:; AXCIENT GREEK ruiLosornERS. 

part in the rjthagorcau system as mathematics, or numbers 
His idea appears to be, that order or harmony of relation is 
the regulating principle of the whole universe. He drew 
out a list of ten pairs of antagonistic elements, and in the 
octave and its diiferent harmonic relations, he Ijelieved that 
he found the ground of the connexion between them. In his 
system of the universe ^re was the important element, occu- 
l)ying both the centre and the remotest point of it; and 
being the vivifying principle of the whole. Round the central 
fire the heavenly bodies he believed to move in a regular 
circle ; furthest off were the fixed stars ; and then, in order, 
the planets, the moon, the sun, the earth, and what he called 
uvTixOoiv, a sort of other half of the earth, which was a distinct 
body from it, but moving jmrallel to it. 

'i'he most distant region he called Olympus ; the space be- 
tween the fixed stars and the moon he called Koa/j.os ; the space 
betwc:n tlie moon and the earth ovpavos. He, or at least 
his disciples, taught that the earth revolved on its axis, 
(tliough Philolaus taught that its revolutions were not round 
its axis but round the central fire). The universe itself they 
considered as a large sphere, and the intervals between the 
heavenly bodies they thought were determined according to 
the laws and relations of musical harmony. And from this 
theory arose the doctrine of the Music of the Spheres ; as the 
heavenly bodies in their motion occasioned a sort of sound 
depending on their distances and velocities; and as these 
were determined by the laws of harmonic intervals, the 
Bounds, or notes, formed a i-egular musical scale. 

Tiie light and heat of tlie central fire he believed that we 
received through the sun, which he considered a kind of 
lens : and peifection, he conceived to exist in direct ratio 
to the distance from the central fire. 

The universe, itself, they looked upon as having subsisted 
from all eternity, controlled by an eternal supreme Deity; 
v/ho established both limits and infinity ; and whom they often 
speak of as the absolute /xoms, or unity. He pen'aded (though 
he was distinct from) and presided over the universe. Some- 
tinics, too, he is calletl the absolute ^ooJ, — while the origin of 


evil is attributed not to hiixi, bvit to matter which prevented 
him from conducting eveiything to the best end. 

With respect to man, the doctrine of Pythagoras -was that 
known by the name of the Metempsychosis, — that the soul 
after death rested a certain time till it was purified, and 
had acquired a forgetfulness of what had previously hap- 
pened to it ; and then reanimated some other body. The 
ethics of the Pythagoreans consisted more in ascetic prac- 
tice and maxims for the restraint of the passions, than in 
any scientific theories. Wisdom they considered as superior 
to virtue, as being connected with the contemplation of the 
upper and purer regions, while virtue was conversant only 
with the sublunary part of the world. Happiness, they 
thought, consisted in the science of the perfection of the 
soul ; or in the perfect science of numbers ; and the main 
object of all the endeavours of man was to be, to resemble the 
Deity as far as possible. 

Alcmceon of Crotona was a pupil of Pythagoras ; but that 
is all that is known of his history. He was a great natural 
philosopher ; and is said to have been the first who intro- 
duced the practice of dissection. He is said, also, to have 
been the first who wrote on natural philosophy. Aristotle, 
however, distinguishes between the principles of Alcmseon 
and Pythagoras, though Avithout explaining in what the dif- 
ference consisted. He asserted the immortality of the soul, 
and said that it partook of the divine nature, because, like 
the heavenly bodies themselves, it contained in itself the 
principle of motion. 

Xenophanes, the founder of the Eleatic school, was a native 
of Colophon ; and flourished probably about the time of 
Pisistratus. Being banished from his own country, he fled to 
the Ionian colonies in Sicily, and at last settled in Elea, or 
Velia. His writings were chiefly poetical. He was universally 
regarded bv the ancients as the orioinator of the doctrine of the 
oneness of the universe : he also maintained, it is said, the unity 
of the Deity; and also his immortality and eternityj denounced 
the transference of him into human form ; and reproached 
Homer and Hesiod for attributini? to him human weaknesses. 


lie represented him us endowed with unwearied activity, and 
as the animating power of the universe. 

Heraclitus was an Epliesian, and is said to liave been a 
pupil of Xenopliancs, though this statement is much doubted] 
others call him a pu})il of llipj)asus the Pythagorean. He 
wrote a treatise on Nature; declaring that the principle of 
all things was fire, from which he saw the world was evolved 
by a natural operation ; he further said that this fire was the 
hun)an life and soul, and therefore a rational intelligence 
guiding the whole universe. In this primary fire he con- 
sidered that there was a perpetual longing to manifest it: elf 
in different forms : in its perfectly pure state it is in heaven ; 
but in order to gratify this longing it descends, gradually 
losing the rapidity of its motion till it settles in the earth. 
The earth, however, is not immovable, but only the slowest 
of all moving bodies; while the soul of man, though dwelling 
m the lowest of all regions, namely, in the earth, he con- 
sidered a migrated portion of fire in its pure state; which, in 
spite of its descent, had lost none of its original purity. The 
summum honum he considered to be a contented acquiescence 
in the decrees ot the Deity. None of his writings are extant; 
and he does not appear to have had many followers. 

Diogenes of Apollonia, (who must not be confounded with 
Ills Stoic or Cynic namesake,) was a pupil of Anaximenes, 
and wrote a treatise on Nature, of which Diogenes Laertius 
gives the following account: "He maintained that air was 
tlie primary element of all things; that there was an infinite 
number of worlds and an infinite vacuum; that air con- 
densed and rarefied produced the different members of the 
mii verse; that nothing was generated from nothing, or re- 
solved into nothing; that the earth was round, supported in 
the centre, having received its shape from the whirling round 
it of warm vapours, and its concrete nature and hardness 
from cold." He also imputed to air an intellectual encrg}', 
though he did not recognise any difference between mind and 

Pannenides was a native of l^^lea or Vclia, and flourished 
about 4G0 B.C., soon after which time he came to Athens, and 


became acquainted with Socrates, who was then very young, 
Tiieuphrastus and Aristotle speak doubtfully of his having 
been a pupil of Xenophaues. Some authors, however, reckon 
him as one of the Pythagorean school; Plato and Aristotle 
speak of him as the gi-eatest of the Eleatics ; and it is said 
that his fellow-countrymen bound their magistrates every 
year to abide by the laws which he had laid down. He, like 
Xenophanes, explained his philosophical tenets in a didactic 
poem, in which he speaks of two primary forms, one the fine 
uniform etherial fire of flame (<^A.dyos Trip), the other the cold 
body of night, out of the intermingling of which everything in 
the world is formed by the Deity who reigns in the midst. 
His cosmogony was carried into minute detail, of which we 
possess only a few obscure fragments; he scaiiewhat resembled 
the Pythagoreans in believing in a spherical system of the 
world, surrounded by a circle of pure light; in the centre of 
which was the earth ; and between the earth and the light 
was the circle of the Milky Way, of the morning and evening 
star, of the sun, the planets, and the moon. And the dif- 
ferences in perfection of organization, he attributed to the 
ditierent proportions in which the primary principles were 
intermingled. The ultimate principle of the world was, in 
his view, necessity, in which Empedocles appears to have 
followed him ; he seems to have been the only philosopher 
who recognised with distinctness and precision that the 
Existent, to ov, as such, is unconnected with all separation or 
juxtaposition, as well as with all succession, all relation to 
space or time, all coming into existence, and all change. It 
is, however, a mistake to suppose that he recognised it as a 

Democritus was born at Abdera, B.C. 4G0. His father He- 
gesistratus had been so rich as to be able to entertain Xerxes, 
when on his march against Greece. He spent his inheritance 
in travelling into distant countries, visiting the gi-eater pari 
of Asia, and, according to some authors, extending his travels 
as far as India and Ethiopia. Egypt he certainly was ac- 
quainted with. He lived to beyond the age of 100 years, 
and is said to have died u.c. 357. 


IIo was a man of vast and vai-ied learning, and a most 
voluminous author, tliough none of his works have come 
down to us; — in them he carried out the theory of atoms 
which lie had derived from Lcucippus ; insisting on the reality 
of a vacuum and of motion, which he held was the eternal 
and necessary consequence of the original variety of atoms in 
this vacuum. These atoms, according to this theory, being 
in constant motion and impenetrable, offer resistance to one 
another, and so create a whirling motion which gives birth to 
worlds. Moreover, from this arise combinations of distinct 
atoms which Ijccome real things and beings. The first cause 
of all existence he called chance {Tvxq), in opposition to the 
vov^ of Anaxagoras. But Democritus went further; for he 
directed his investigations especially to the discovery of 

Besides tlie infinite number of atoms, lie likewise supposed 
the existence of an infinite number of worlds, each being kept 
together by a sort of shell or skin. He derived the four 
elements from the form, quality, and proportionate magni- 
tude of tlie atoms predominating in each; and in deriving 
individual tilings from atoms, he mainly considered the 
qualities of warm and cold; the soul he considered as de- 
.'ived from fire atoms; and he did not consider mind as 
anything peculiar, or as a power distinct from the soul or 
sensuous perception; but he considered knowledge derived 
from reason to be a sensuous perception. 

In his etliical philosopliy, he considered (as we may see 
from the de Finibus) the acquisition of peace of mind as 
the end and ultimate object of all our actions, and as the 
last and best fruit of philosophical inquiry. Temperance 
and moderation in prosperity and adversity were, in his eyes, 
the principal means of acquiring this peace of mind. And he 
called those men alone pious and beloved by the Gods who 
hate whatever is wrong. 

Empedocles was a Sicilian, who flourished about the time 
when Thrasydscus, the son of Theron, was expelled from Agri- 
gentum, to the tyranny of which he had succeeded; in whicli 
revolution he tuok an active i)art: it is even said that tho 


Rovereignty of his native city was offered to and declined 
by him. 

He was a man of great genius and extensive learning ; it is 
not known whose pupil he was, nor are any of his disciples 
mentioned except Gorgias. He was well versed in the tenets 
of the Eleatic and Pythagorean schools; but he did not adopt 
the fundamental prin-ciples of either; though he agreed with 
Pythagoras in his belief in the metempsychosis, in the in- 
fluence of numbers, and in one or two other points ; and with 
the Eleatics in disbelieving that anything could be generated 
out of nothing. Aristotle speaks of him as very much re- 
sembling in his opinions Democritus and Anaxagoras. He 
was the first who established the numbei' of four elements, 
which had been previously pointed out one by one, partly 
as fundamental substances, and partly as transitive clianges 
of things coming into existence. He first suggested the idea 
of two opposite directions of the moving power, an attractive 
and a repelling one : and he believed that originally these 
two coexisted in a state of repose and inactivity. He also 
assumed a periodical change of the formation of the world; 
or perhaps, like the philosophers of the pure Ionic school, a 
perpetual continuance of pure fundamental substances; to 
wliich the parts of the world that are tired of change return, 
and prepare the formation of the sphere for the next period 
of the world. Like the Eleatics, he strove to purify the 
notion of the Deity, saying that he, "being a holy infinite 
spirit, not encumbered with limbs, passes tlirough the world 
with rapid thoughts." At the same time he speaks of the 
eternal power of Necessity as an ancient decree of the 
Gods, though it is not quite clear what he understood by 
this term. 

Diagoras was a native of ]\Ielos, and a pupil of Democritus, 
and flourished about n.c. 435. He is remarkable as having 
been regarded by all antiquity as an Atheist. In his youth 
he had some reputation as a lyric poet; so that he is 
sometimes classed with Pindar, Simonides, and Bacchylides. 
Aristophanes, in the Clouds, alludes to him where he call.? 
Socrates " the IMelian ;'" not that he was so, but he means to 


hint that Socrates was an atheist as well as the Melian 
Diagoras. He lived at Athens for many years till B.C. 411, 
when he fled from a prosecution instituted against him for 
impiety, according to Diodorus, Ixit probably for some offence 
of a political nature; perliaps connected with the mutilation 
of the Hernia). 

That he was an atlieist, however, appears to have been 
quite untrue. Like Socrates, he took new and peculiar views 
respecting the Gods and their worship; and seems to have 
ridiculed the honours paid to their statues, and the common 
notions which were entertained of their actions and conduct. 
(See De Nat. Deor. iii. 37.) He is said also to have attacked 
objects held in the greatest veneration at Athens, such as the 
Eleusiuian Mysteries, and to have dissuaded people from 
being initiated into them. He appears also, in his theories 
on the divine nature, to have substituted in some degree the 
active powers of nature for the activity of the Gods. In his 
own conduct he was a man of strict morality and virtue. He 
died at Corinth before the end of the century. 

Protagoras was a native of Abdera ; the exact time of his 
birth is unknown, but he was a little older than Socrates. He 
was the first person who gave himself the title of cro<^io-T//?, 
and taught for pay. He came to Athens early in life, and 
gave to the settlers who left it for Thurium, B.C. 44-5, a 
code of laws, or perhaps adapted the old laws of Charondas 
to their use. He was a friend of Pericles. After some time 
he was impeached for impiety in saying, That respecting the 
Gods he did not know whether they existed or not; and 
banished from Athens (see De Nat. Deor. i. 2-3). He was a 
very prolific author: his most peculiar doctrines excited 
Plato to write the Theretetus to oppose them. 

His fundamental principle was, that everything is motion, 
and that that is the efficient cause of everything; that nothing 
exists, but that everything is continually corning into existence. 
He divided motion (besides numerous subordinate divisions) 
into active and passive ; though he did not consider either of 
these characteristics as permanent. From the concurrence 
of t-,vo such motions he tauglit that sensations ar d porcei' 


tions arose, according to the rapidity of the motion. There- 
fore he said that there is or exists for each individual, only 
that of which he has a sensation or perception ; and that as 
sensation, like its objects, is engaged in a perpetual change of 
motion, opposite assertions might exist according to the dif- 
ference of the perception respecting such object. Moral Viorth 
he attributed to taking pleasure in the beautiful ; and virtue 
he referred to a certain sense of shame implanted in man by 
nature ; and to a certain conscious feeling of justice, which 
secures the bonds of connexion in private and political life. 

Socrates, the son of Sophroniscus, a statuary, and Phsenarete, 
a midwife, was born B.C. 468. He lived all his life at Athens, 
serving indeed as a soldier at Potida3a, Amphipolis, and in the 
battle of Deliumj but with these exceiDtions he never left 
the city ; where he lived as a teacher of philosophy ; not. 
however, founding a school or giving lectures, but frequenting 
the market-place and all other places of public resort, talking 
with every one who chose to address him, and putting ques- 
tions to every one of every rank and profession, so that Grote 
calls him " a public talker for instruction." He believed 
himself to have a special religious mission from the Gods to 
bring his countrymen to knowledge and virtue. He was at 
last impeached before the legal tribunals, on the ground of 
" corrupting the youth of the city, and not worshipping the 
Gods whom the city worshipped;" and disdaining to defend 
himself, or rather making a justificatory defence of such a 
character as to exasperate the judges, he was condemned to 
death, and executed by having hemlock administered to him, 
B.C. 399. 

From his disciples Plato and Xenophon we have a very full 
account of his habits and doctrines; though it has been much 
disputed which of the two is to be considered as giving the 
most accurate description of his opinions. As a young 
man he had been to a certain extent a pupil of Archelaus 
(the disciple of Anaxagoras), and derived his fondness for the 
dialectic style of argument from Zeno the Eleatic, tlie favourite 
pupil of Parmenides. He differed, however, from all preceding 
philosophei'S in discardinc; and excluding wholly from hia 


Studies all the abstruse sciences, and limiting his philosophy 
to those practical points which could have influence on 
human conduct. " He himself was always conversing about 
the affairs of men," is the description given of him by Xeno- 
phon. Astronomy he pronounced to be one of the divine 
mysteries which it was impossible to understand and mad- 
ness to investigate ; all that man wanted was to know enough 
of the heavenly bodies to serve as an index to the change of 
seasons and as guides for voyages, etc.; and that knowledge 
miglit, he said, easily be obtained from pilots and watchmen. 
Geometry he reduced to its literal meaning of land-measuring, 
useful to enable one to act with judgment in the pm-chase 
or sale of land ; but he looked with great contempt on the 
study of complicated diagrams and mathematical problems. 
As to general natural philosophy, he wholly discarded it ; 
asking whether those who professed to apply themselves to 
that study knew human affairs so well as to have time to 
spare for divine; was it that they thought that they could 
influence the winds, rain, and seasons, or did they desire 
nothing but the gratification of an idle curiosity 1 Men should 
recollect how much the wisest of tliem who have attempted 
to prosecute these investigations differ from one another, and 
how totally opposite and contradictory their opinions are. 

Socrates, then, looked at all knowledge from the point 
of view of human practice. He first, as Cicero says, 
(Tusc. Dis. V. 4,) " called philosophy down from heaven and 
established it in the cities, introduced it even into private 
houses, and compelled it to investigate life, and manners, and 
what was good and evil among men." He was the first man 
who turned his thoughts and discussions distinctly to the 
subject of Ethics. Deeply iiiibued with sincere religious feel- 
ing, and believing himself to be under the peculiar guidance 
of the Gods, who at all times admonished him by a divine 
warning voice when he was in danger of doing anything 
unwise, inexpedient, or improper, he believed that the Gods 
constantly manifested their love of and care for all men in 
the most essential manner, in replying through oracles, and 
Bending them information by sacrificial signs or prodigies, iu 

socRA rzs. sv 

cases of great difficulty ; and he had no doubt that if a man 
v/ere diligent in learning all that the Gods permitted to be 
learnt, and if besides he was assiduous in paying pious court 
to them and in soliciting special information by way of 
prophecy, they would be gracious to him and signify their 
purposes 1o him. 

Such then being the capacity of man for wisdom and 
virtue, his object was to impart that wisdom to them ; and 
'Jie first step necessary, he considered to be eradicating one 
great fault which was a barrier to all improvement. This 
fault he desci-ibed as " the conceit of knowledge without the 
reality." His friend and admirer Chserephon had consulted 
the oracle at Delphi as to whether any man was wiser than 
Socrates; to which the priestess replied that no other man 
was wiser. Socrates affirms that he was greatly disturbed at 
hearing this declaration from so infallible an authority; till 
after conversing with politicians, and orators, and poets, and 
men of all classes, he discovered not only that they were 
destitute of wisdom, but that they believed themselves to ba 
possessed of it ; so that he was wiser than they, though wholly 
ignorant, inasmuch as he was conscious of his own ignorance. 
He therefore considered his most important duty to be to 
convince men of their ignorance, and to excite them to remedy 
it, as the indispensable preliminary to virtue; for virtue he 
defined as doing a thing well, after having learnt it and 
practised it by the rational and proper means; and whoever 
performed his duties best, whether he was a ruler of a state 
or a husbandman, was the best and most useful man and the 
most beloved by the Gods. 

And if his objects were new, his metliod was no less so. He 
was the parent of dialectics and logic. Aristotle says, '• To 
Socrates we may unquestionably assign two novelties — induc- 
tive discourses, and the definitions of general terms. Without 
any predecessor to copy, Socrates fell as it were instinctively 
into that which Aristotle describes as the double tract of the 
dialectic process, breaking up the one into the many, and 
recombining the many into the one; though the latter or 
svtithetical process he did not often peiform himself, but 


Strove to stimulate his hearer's mind so as to enable him fc: 
do it for himself. 

The fault of the Socratic tlujory is well remarked by Grote to 
be, that while he resolved all virtue into knowledge or wisdom, 
and all vice into ignorance or fi>lly, he omitted to notice what 
is not less essential to virtue, the proper condition of the pas- 
sions, desires, etc., and limited his views too exclusively to the 
intellect ; still while laying down a theory which is too naiTow, 
he escaped the erroneous consequences of it by a partial incon- 
sistency. For no one ever insisted more emphatically on the 
necessity of control over the passions and appetites, of en- 
forcing good habits, and on the value of that state of the 
sentiments and emotions which such a course tended to form. 
He constantly pointed out that the chief pleasures were such 
as inevitably arise from the performance of one's duty, and 
that as to happiness, a very moderate degree of good fortune 
is sufficient as to external things, provided the internal man 
be properly disciplined. 

Grote remarks further, (and this remark is particularly 
worth remembering in the reading of Cicero's philosophical 
works,) that " Arcesilaus and the New Academy thought that 
they wei'e following the example of Socrates, (and Cicero 
appears to have thought so too,) when they reasoned against 
everything, and laid it down as a system, that against every 
affirmative position an eqiial force of negative argument 
could be brought as a counterpoise : now this view of Socrates 
is, in my judgment, not only partial, but incorrect. He en- 
tertained no such doubts of the powers of the mind to attam 
certainty. About physics he thought man could know 
nothing; but respecting the topics which concern man and 
society, this was the field which the Gods had expressly 
assigned, not merely to human practice, but to human study 
and knowledge; and be thought that every man, not only 
might know these things, but ought to know them ; that he 
cuuld not possibly act well imless he did know them ; and 
that it was his imperative duty to learn them as he would 
learn a profession, otherwise ho was nothing better than a 
tlave, unfit to be trusted as a free and accountable bting. He 


was possessed by the truly Baconian idea, that the power of 
steady moral action depended upon, and was limited by, the 
rational comprehension of moral ends and means." 

The system, then, of Socrates was animated by the ti'uest 
spirit of positive science, and formed an indispensable pre- 
cursor to its attainment. And we may form some estimate 
of his worth and genius if we I'ecollect, that while the 
systems and speculations of other ancient philosophers serve 
only as curiosities to make us wonder, or as beacons to warn 
us into what absurdities the ablest men may fall, the prin- 
ciples and the system of Socrates and his followers, and of 
that school alone, exercise to this day an important influence 
on all human argument and speculation. 

Aristij^pus (whom we will consider before Plato, that 
Aristotle may follow Plato more immediately) came when 
a young man to Athens, for the express purpose of be- 
coming acquainted with Socrates, with whom he remained 
almost till his death. He was, however, very different from 
his master, being a person of most luxurious and sensual 
habits. He was also the first of Socrates' disciples who took 
money for teaching. He was the foimder of the Cyrenaic 
school of philosophy, which followed Socrates in limiting all 
philosophical inquiries to ethics ; though under this name 
they comprehended a more varied range of subjects than 
Socrates did, inasmuch as one of the parts into which they 
divided philosophy, referred to the feelings ; another to causes, 
which is rather a bi-anch of physics ; and a third to proofs, 
which is clearly connected with logic. 

He pronounced pleasure to be the chief good, and pain the 
chief evil; but he denied that either of these was a mere 
negative inactive state, considering them, on the contrary, 
both to be motions of the soul, — pain a violent, and pleasure 
a moderate one. 

As to actions, he asserted that thev were all morally in- 
different, that men should only look to their results, and that 
law and custom are the only authorities which make an 
action eitlier good or bad. VVliatever conduces to pleasure, 



he thought virtue ; in which he agreed with Socrates that 
tlie mind has the principal sliare. 

Plato, the greatest of all the disciples of Socrates, was the 
son of Ariston and Perictione, and was born probably in the 
year b.c. 428, and dcscendev^ ju tlie side of his father, fi-om 
Codrus, and on his mother's side related to Solon. At the 
age of twenty, he became a constant attendant of Socrates, 
and lived at Athens till his death. After this event, in con- 
sequence of the unpopularity of the very name of his master, 
he retired to Megara, and subsequently to Sicily. He is said 
also to have been at some part of his life, after the death of 
Socrates, a great traveller. About twelve years after the 
death of Socrates he returned to Athens, and began to teach 
in the Academy, partly by dialogue, and J^artly, probably, by 
connected lectui'es. He taught gratuitously; and besides 
Speusippus, Xenocrates, Ai'istotle, Heraclides Ponticus, and 
otliers, who were devoted solely to philosophical studies, he is 
said to have occasionally numbered Chabrias, Iphicrates, 
Timotheus, Phocion, Isocrates, and (by some") Demosthenes 
among his hearers. He died at a great age, B.C. 347. 

His works have come down to us in a more complete form 
than those of any other ancient author who was equally 
voluminous; and from them we get a clear idea of the 
principal doctrines which he inculcated on his followers. 

Like Socrates, he was peneti'ated with the idea, that know- 
ledge and wisdom were tlie things most necessary to man, 
and the greatest goods assigned to him by God. Wisdom 
he looked on as the great purifier of the soul; and as any 
approach to wisdom presupposes an original communion with 
Being, properly so called, this communion also presupposes 
the divine nature, and consequent immortality of the soul, 
his doctrine respecting which was of a much purer and loftier 
chax'acter than the usual theology of the ancients. Believing 
that the world also had a soul, he considered the human 
soul as similar to it in nature, and free from all liability to 
detith, in sp'te of its being bound up with the aj^petites, in 
ccusequence of its connexion with the body, and as preserving 


power and consciousness after its separation from the body. 
What he believed, however, to be its condition after death ia 
far less cer+^aiu, as his ideas on this subject are expressed in a 
mythical form. 

The chief point, however, to which Plato directed his 
attention, was ethics, which, especially in his system, are 
closely connected with politics. He devotes the Protagoras, 
and several shoi'ter dialogues, to refute the sensual and selfish 
theories of some of his predecessors, in order to adopt a more 
scientific treatment of the subject; and in these dialogues he 
ui'ges that neither happiness nor virtue are attainable by the 
indulgence of our desires, but that men must bring these into 
proper restraint, if they are desirous of either. He supposes 
an inward harmony, the preservation of which is pleasure, 
while its disturbance is pain; and as pleasure is always de- 
pendent on the activity from which it spiings, the more this 
activity is elevated the purer the pleasure becomes. 

Virtue he considered the fitness of the soul for the opei-a- 
tions that are proper to it; and it manifests itself by means 
of its inward harmony, beauty, and health. Different phases 
of virtue ax-e distinguishable so far as the soul is not pure 
spirit, but just as the spirit should rule both the other 
elements of the soul, so also should wisdom, as the inner 
development of the spirit, rule the other virtues. 

Politics he considered an inseparable part of ethics, and 
the state as the copy of a well-regulated individual life : fi-om 
the three different activities of the soul he deduced the three 
main elements of the state, likening the working class to the 
appetitive element of the soul, both of which equally require 
to be kept under control ; the military order, which answered, 
in his idea, to the emotive element, ought to develop itself iu 
thorough dependence on the reason; and from that the 
governing order, answering to the rational faculty, must pre 
ceed. The right of passing from a subordinate to a dominan, 
position must depend on the individual capacity and ability 
for raising itself. But from the difficulties of realizing his 
theories, he renounces this absolute separation of ranks in his 
book on Ijaws, limits the power of the governors, attempts i^ 



reconcile freedom witli unity and reason, and to mingle 
monarchy with democracy. 

With respect to his theology, he appears to have agreed 
entirely with Socrates. 

Aristotle was born at Stageira, B.C. 384. His father, Nico- 
machus, was physician to Amyntas II., king of ISIacedon. 
At the age of seventeen he went to Athens, in hopes to 
become a pupil of Plato ; but Plato was in Sicily, and did not 
return for three years, which time Aristotle applied to severe 
study, and to cultivating the friendship of Heraclides Pon- 
tic us. When Plato returned, he soon distinguished him above 
all his other pupils. He remained at Athens twenty years, 
maintaining, however, his connexion with Macedonia; but 
on the death of Plato, B.C. 347, which happened while Aris- 
totle was absent in Macedonia on an embassy, he quitted 
Athens, thinking, perhaps, that travelling was necessary to 
complete his education. After a short period, he accepted an 
invitation from Philip to superintend the education of Alex- 
ander. He remained in Macedonia till B.C. 335, when he 
retiu-ned to Athens, where he found Xenocrates had suc- 
ceeded Speusippus as the head of the Academy. Here the 
Lyceum was appropriated to him, in the shady walks (-Trcpt- 
Traro/.) of which he delivered his lectures to a number of 
eminent scholars who flocked around him. From these walks 
the name of Peripatetic was given to the School which he 
subsequently established. Like several others of the Greek 
philosophers, he had a select body of pupils, to whom he deli- 
vered his esoteric doctrines ; and a larger, more promiscuous, 
and less accomplished company, to whom he delivered his 
exoteric lectures on less abstruse STibjects. When he had 
resided thirteen years at Athens, he found himself threatened 
with a prosecution for impiety, and fled to Chalcis, in Eubcea, 
and died soon after, B.C. 322. 

His learning was immense, and his most voluminous 
•"-itings embraced almost every subject conceivable; but 
."^nly a veiy small portion of them has come down to us. 
Cicero, however, alludes to him only as a moral philosopher, 
uud occasional jy as a natural liistorian ; so that it may be 


sufBcient here for us to confine our view of him to his teach- 
ing on the Practical Sciences ; his Ethics, too, being one of 
his works whicli has come down to us entire. 

God he considered to be the highest and purest energy of 
eternal intellect, — an absolute principle, — the highest reason, 
the object of whose thought is himself; expanding and de- 
claring, in a more profound manner, the voi)? of Anaxagoras. 
With respect to man, the object of all action, he taught, was 
happiness : and this happiness he defines to be an energy of 
the soul (or of life) according to virtue, existing by and for 
itself Virtue, again, he subdivided into moral and intel- 
lectual, according to the distinction between the reasoning 
faculty and that quality in the soul which obeys reason. 
Again, moral virtue is the proper medium between excess 
and deficiency, and can only be acquu-ed by practice ; intel- 
lectual virtue can be taught ; and by the constant practice of 
moral virtue a man becomes virtuous, but he can only prac- 
tise it by a resolute determination to do so. Virtue, there- 
fore, is defined further as a habit accompanied by, or arising 
out of, deliberate choice, and based upon free and conscious 
action. From these principles, Aristotle is led to take a 
wider view of virtue than other philosophers : he includes 
friendship under this head, as one of the very greatest vir- 
tues, and a principal means for a steady continuance in all 
virtue ; and as the unrestricted exercise of each species of 
activity directed towards the good, produces a feeling of 
pleasure, he considers pleasure as a very powerful means 
of virtue. 

Connected with Aristotle's system of ethics was his system 
of politics, the former being only a part, as it were, of the. 
latter; the former aiming at the happiness of individuals, the 
latter at that of communities ; so that the latter is the per- 
fection and completion of the former. For Aristotle looked 
upon man as a " political animal" — as a being, that is, created 
by na'-.ure for the state, and for living in the state ; which, as 
a totality consisting of oi-ganically connected membei's, is by 
nature prior to the individual or the family. The state he 
looked upon as a whole consisting of mutually dependent and 


connected members, with reference as well to imaginary as to 
actually existing constitutions. The constitution is the ar- 
rangement of the powers in the state — the soul of the state, 
as it were, — according to which the sovereignty is deter- 
mined. The laws are the determining principles, according 
to which the dominant body governs and restrains those who 
would, and punishes those who do, transgress them. He 
defines three kinds of constitutions, each of them having a 
corresponding perversion : — a republic, arising from the prin- 
ciple of equality; this at times degenerates into democracy; 
monarchy, and aristocracy, which arise from principles of 
inequality, founded on the preponderance of external or in- 
ternal strength and wealth, and which are apt to degenerate 
into tjrH,L.nj and oligarchy. The education of youth he con- 
siders as a principal concern of the state, in order that, all 
the individual citizens being trained to a virtuous life, virtue 
may become predominant in all the spheres of political life; 
and, accordingly, by means of politics the object is realized of 
which ethics are the groundwork, namely, human happiness, 
depending on a life in accordance with virtue. 

Heraclides Ponticus, as he is usually called, was, as his 
name denotes, a native of Pontus. He migrated to Athens, 
where he became a disciple of Plato, who, while absent in 
Sicily, entrusted him with the care of his school. 

Speusippus was the nephew of Plato, and succeeded him as 
President of the Academy; but he continued so but a short 
time, and, within eight yeai-s of the death of Plato, he died at 
Athens, B.C. 339. He refused to recognise the Good as the 
ultimate principle ; but, going back to the older theologians, 
maintained that the origin of the universe was to be set 
down indeed as a cause of the Good and Perfect, but was not 
the Good and Perfect itself ; for that was the result of gene- 
rated existence or development, just as plants are of the 
seeds. When, with the Pythagoreans, he reckoned the One in 
the series of good things, he probably thought of it only in 
opposition to the Manifold, and wished to point out that it is 
from the One tltat the Good is to be derived. He appears, 
however, (see De Nat. Deor. i. 13.) to have attributed vital 


activity to the primordial unity, as inseparably belonging 
*.o it. 

Theophrastus was a native of Eresus, from whence he 
migrated to Athens, where he became a follower of Plato, and 
afterwards of Aristotle, by whom, when he quitted Athens for 
Chalcis, he was designated as his successor in the presidency 
of the Lyceum ; while in this position, he is said to have had 
two thousand disciples, and among them the comic poet 
Menander. When, B.C. 305, the philosophers were banished 
from Athens, he also left the city, but returned the next year 
on the repeal of the law. He lived to a great age, though 
the date of his birth is not certainly known. 

He was a very voluminous writer on many subjects, but 
directed his chief attention to continuing the researches into 
natural history which had been begun by Aristotle. As, 
however, only a few fragments of his works have come 
down to us, and these in a very corrupt state, we know but 
little what peculiar views he entertained : though we learn 
from Cicero (De Inv. i. 42 — 50) that he departed a good deal 
from the doctrines of Aristotle in his principles of ethics, and 
also in his metaphysical and theological speculations; and 
Cicero (De Nat. Deor. i. 13) complains that he did not ex- 
press himself with precision or with consistency about the 
Deity; and in other places (Acad. i. 10, Tusc. Qusest. v. 9), 
that he appeared unable to comprehend a happiness resting 
merely on virtue; so that he had attributed to virtue a rank 
very inferior to its deserts. 

Xenocrates was a native of Chalcedon, born probably 
B.C. 396. He was a follower of Plato, and accompanieti him 
to Sicily. After his death, he betook himself, with Aristotle, 
to the court of Hermias, tyrant of Ptarneus, but soon re- 
turned to Athens, and became president of the Academy 
when Speasippus, through ill health, was forced to abandon 
that post. He died B.C. 314. 

He was not a man of great genius, but of unwearied in- 
dustry and the purest virtue and integinty. None of his 
works have come down to us ; but, from the notices of other 
ivriters, we are acquainted with some of his peculiar doctrines. 


lie stood at the head of those who, regardiiiL; the universe as 
imperishable and existing from eternity, looked upon the 
clironio succession in the tlieory of Plato as a form in which 
to denote the relations of conceptual succession. He asserted 
that the soul was a self-moving member, — called Unity and 
Duality deities, considering the former as the first male 
existence, ruling in heaven, father and Jupiter ; the latter as 
the female, as the mother of the Gods, and the soul of the 
universe, which reigns over the mutable world under heaven. 
He approximated to the Pythagoreans in considering Number 
as the priuciple of consciousness, and consequently of know- 
ledge ; supplying, however, what was deficient in the Pytha- 
gorean theory by the definition of Plato, that it is only in as 
far as number reconciles the opposition between the same and 
the different, and can raise itself to independent motion, that 
it is soul. 

In his ethics he endeavoured to render the Platonic 
theory more complete, and to give it a more direct applica- 
bility to human life; admitting, besides the good and the 
bad, of something which is neither good nor bad, and some of 
these intermediate things, such as health, beauty, fame, good 
fortune, he would not admit to be absolutely worthless and 
indifl'erent. He maintained, however, in the most decided 
manner, that virtue is the only thing valuable in itself, and 
that the value of everything else is conditional, (see Cic. de 
Fin. iv. 18, de Leg. i. 21, Acad. i. G, Tusc. Qua^st. v. 10—18,) 
that happiness ought to coincide with the consciousness of 
virtue. He did not allow that mere intellectual scientific 
wisdom was the only true wisdom to be sought after as such 
by men : and in one point he came nearer the precepts of 
Christianity than any of the ancients, when he asserted the 
indispcnsableness of the morality of the thoughts to virtue, 
and declared it to be the same thing, whether a person cast 
longing eyes on the possessions of his neighbour, or attempted 
to possess himself of them by force. 

Antisthenes was older than Plato; though the exact time 
of his birth is uncertain: but he fought at the battle of 
Tana;jra, B.C. 420, though then very young. He became a 


disciple of Gorgias, and afterwards of Socrates, at wliose death 
he set up a school in the Cynosarges, a gymnasium for the 
use of Athenians born of foreign mothers, near the temple of 
Hercules, from which place of assembly his followers were 
called Cynics. He lived to a great age, though the year of 
his death is not known, but he certainly was alive after the 
battle of Leuctra, B.C. 371. 

In his philosophical system, which was almost confined to 
ethics, he appears to have aimed at novelty rather than truth 
or common sense. He taught that in all that the wise man 
does he conforms to perfect virtue, and that pleasure is so far 
from being necessary to man, that it is a positive evil. He is 
reported also to have gone the length of pronouncing pain and 
infamy blessings rather than evils, though when he spoke of 
pleasm'e as worthless, he probably meant that pleasure which 
arises from the gratification of sensual or artificial desires; 
for he praised that which ai'ises from the intellect, and from 
friendship. The summum boiium he placed in a life according 
to virtue. 

In a treatise in which he discussed the nature of the Gods 
he contended for the unity of the Deity, and asserted that 
man is unable to know him by any sensible representation, 
since he is unlike any being on earth ; and demonstrated the 
sufficiency of virtue for happiness, by the doctrine that out- 
ward events are regulated by God so as to benefit the wise 
and good. 

Diogenes, a native of Sinope in Pontus, who was born B.C. 
412, was one of his few discij^les; he came at an early age to 
Athens, and became notorious for the most frantic excesses of 
moroseness and self-denial. On a voyage to iEgina he was 
taken by pirates and sold as a slave to Xeniades, a Corinthian, 
over whom he acquired great influence, and was made 
tutor to his children. His system consisted merely in teach- 
ing men to dispense with even the simplest necessaries of 
civilized life : and he is said to have taught that all minds are 
air, exactly alike, and composed of similar particles ; but that 
in beasts and in idiots they are hindered from properly 
developing themselves by various humours and ir rapacities 


of their bodies. He died B.C. 323, the same year that Epi- 
curus came to Athens. 

Zeno was born at Citium, a city of Cyprus; biit having 
been shipwrecked near Cyprus, he settled in that city, where 
he devoted himself to severe study for a great length of time, 
cultivating, it is said, the acquaintance of the philosophers of 
the Megaric school, Diodorus and Philo, and of the Academics, 
Xenoei-ates and Polemo. After he had completed his studies, 
he opened a school himself in the porch, adorned with the 
paintings of Polygnotus (Sroa iroLKikq), from which liis fol- 
lowers were called Stoics. The times of his birth and of his 
death are not known with any exactness; but he is said to 
have reached a great age. 

In speaking of the Stoic doctrines, it is not very clear how 
much of them proceeded from Zeno himself, and how much 
from Chrysippus and other eminent men of the school in sub- 
sequent years. In natural philosophy he considered that 
there was a primary matter which was never increased or 
diminished, and which was the foundation of everything which 
existed : and which was brought into existence by the opera- 
tive power, — that is, by the Deity. He saw this operative 
power in fire and in sether as the basis of all vital activity, 
(see Cic. Acad. i. 11, ii. 41; de Nat. Deor. ii. 9, iii. 14,) 
and he taught that the universe comes into being when the 
primary substance passing from fire through the intermediate 
stage of air becomes liquefied, and then the thick portion be- 
comes eai'th, the thinner portion air, which is again rarefied 
till it becomes fire. This fire he conceived to be identical 
with the Deity, (Cic. de Nat. Deor. ii. 22,) and to be endowed 
with consciousness and foresight. At other times he defined 
the Deity as that law of nature which ever accomplishes what 
is right, and prevents the opposite, and identified it with 
unconditional necessity. The soul of man he considered aa 
oeing of the nature of fire, or of a warm breath, (Cic. Tusc. 
Qu£est. i. 9 ; de Nat. Deor. iii. 4,) and therefore as mortal. 

In ethics he agreed with the Cynics in recognising the con- 
stitutional nature of moral obligations, though he differed from 
them with rei^pect to things indifferent, and opposed their 


morose contempt for custom, though he did not allow that 
the gratification of mere external wants, or that external 
good fortune, had any intrinsic value. He comprised every- 
thing which could make life happy in virtue alone (Cic. 
Acad. i. 10), and called it the only good which deserved to 
be striven after and praised for its own sake (Cic. de Fin. 
iii. 6, 8), and taught that the attainment of it must inevitably 
produce happiness. But as virtue could, according to his 
system, only subsist in conjunction with the perfect dominion 
of reason, and vice only in the renunciation of the authority 
of reason, he inferred that one good action could not be more 
virtuous than another, and that a person who had one virtue 
had all, and that he who was destitute of one was destitute 
of all. 

Cleanthes was bom at Assos in the Troas, about 300 B.C. ; 
he came to Athens at an early age, and became the pupil of 
Zeno, whom at his death he succeeded in his school. He dif- 
fered from his master in regarding the soul as immortal, and 
approximated to the Cynics in denying that pleasure was 
agreeable to nature, or in any respect good. He died of 
voluntary starvation at the age of eighty. 

Chrysippus was born B.C. 280, at Soli in Cilicia. He came 
at an early age to Athens, and became a pupil of Cleanthes ; 
and among the later Stoics he was more regarded than either 
Zeno or Cleanthes. He died B.C. 207. 

His doctrines do not appear to have differed from those of 
Zeno ; only that, from feeling the dangerous influence of the 
Epicurean principles, he endeavoured to popularize the Stoic 

Epicurus wtis an Athenian of the Attic demos Gargettus, 
whence he is sometimes simply called the Gargettian. He 
was, however, born at Samos, B.C. 342, and did not come to 
Athens till the age of eighteen, when he found Xenocrates at 
the head of the Academy, and by some authors is said to have 
become his pupil, though he himself would not admit it 
(Cic. de Nat. Deor, i. 26). At the outbreak of the Samian war 
he crossed over to Colophon, where he collected a school. It 
is said that the first thing that excited him to the study of 


philosopliy was tlie perusal of the works of Democritus while 
he resided at Colophon. From thence he went to Mitylene 
and Lampsacus, and B.C. 30G he returned to Athens, and 
finally established himself as a teacher of philosophy. His 
own life was tliat of a man of simple, pure, and temperate 
habits. He died of the stone, B.C. 270, and left Hermarclius of 
Mitylene as liis successor in the management of his scliool. 

None of his works have come down to us. With regard to 
his philosophical system, in spite of his boast of being self- 
taught and having borrowed from no one, he clearly derived 
the chief part of his natural philosophy from Democritus, 
and of his moral philosophy from Aristippus and the Cyre- 
naics. He considered human happiness the end of all phi- 
losophy, and agreed with the Cyi'enuics that pleasure consti- 
tuted the gi'eatest happiness ; still this theory in his hands 
acquired a far loftier character ; for pleasure, in his idea, was 
not a mere momentary and transitory sensation, but some- 
thing lasting and imperishable, consisting in pure mental 
enjoj'ments, and in tlie freedom from pain and any other in- 
fluence which could disturb man's peace of mind. And the 
summum bonum, according to him, consisted in this peace of 
mind ; which was bas^d upon correct wisdom [(f>p6vr]in<;). 

In his natural philosophy he embraced tlie atomic tlieoriea 
of Democritus and Diagoras, caiTying them even furtlier than 
they themselves had done, to such a degree that he drew upon 
himself the reproach of Atheism. He regarded the Gods 
themselves as consisting of atoms, and our notions of them as 
based upon the images (eiSwAa) which are reflected from them, 
and so pass into our minds. And he believed that they 
exercised no influence whatever on the world, or on the 
actions or fortunes of man. 

Theodorus was a native of Cyrene, who flourished about 
B.C. 320. He was of the Cyrenaic sect, and the founder of that 
branch of it which was called ofter him, the Theodorean ; 
though we scarcely know in what his doctrines differed from 
those of Aristippus, unless they were, if possible, of a still 
more lax chai-acter. He taught, for instance, that there w;ii 
uothiug really wrong or disgraceful iu theft, adultery, or 


sacrilege ; but that they were branded by public opinion to 
restrain fools. He is also reproved with utter atneism ; and 
Cicero classes him with Diagoras, as a man who utterly denied 
the existence of any Gods at all. 

Pyrrho was a contemporary of Alexander the Great, whose 
expedition into Asia he joined. He appears, as far as his 
philosophy went, to have been an universal sceptic. He im- 
peached, however, none of the chief principles of morality, 
but, regarding Socrates as his model, directed all his endea- 
vours towards the production in his pupils of a firm well- 
regulated moz-al character. 

Grantor was a native of Soli in Cilicia \ we do not know 
when he was bom or when he died, but he came to Athens 
before B.C. 315. He was the first of Plato's followers who 
wrote commentaries on the works of his master. He died of 
dropsy, and left Arcesilaus his heir. 

Arcesilaus, or Arcesilas, flourished about B.C. 280 ; he was 
born at Pitane, but came to Athens and became the pupil of 
Theophrastus and of Grantor, and afterwards of some of the 
more sceptical philosophers. On the death of Grantor he suc- 
ceeded to the chair of the Academy, in the doctrines of which 
he made so many innovations that he is called the founder of 
the New Academy. What his peculiar views were is, however, 
a matter of gi'eat uncertainty. Some give him the credit of 
having restored the doctrines of Plato in an uncorrupted 
form ; while, according to Gicero, on the other hand, (Acad, 
i. 12,) he summed up all his opinions in the statement that 
he knew nothing, not even his own ignorance He, and the 
New Academy, do not, however, seem to have doubted the 
existence of truth in itself, but only the capacity of man for 
arriving at the knowledge of it. 

CarneadeswsiS born at Gyrene about B.C. 213. He went 
early to Athens, and at first attended the lectures of the 
Stoics; but subsequently attached himself to tlie Academy, 
and succeeded to the chair on the death of Hegesinus. In 
the year b.c. 15.5, he came to Rome on an embassy, but so 
oiTended Gato by speaking one day in praise of justice aa 
a virtue, and the next day. in answer to all his previous argu- 


tncnts, that he made a motion in the senate, that he should be 
ordered to depart from Rome. He died B.C. 129. 

PhUo of Larissa, who is often mentioned by Cicero, was 
his own master, liaving removed to Home after the conquest 
of Athens by Mitlu-idates, where he settled as a teacher of 
philosophy and rhetoric. He would not admit that there was 
any difference between the Old and New Academy, in which 
he differed from his pupil Antiochus. The exact time of his 
birth or death is not known ; but he was not living when 
Cicero composed his Academics, (ii. G.) 

Antiochus of Ascalon has been called by some wi'iters the 
founder of the Fifth Academy; he also was a teacher of 
Cicero during the time he studied at Athens ; he had also 
a school at Alexandria, and another in Syria, where he died. 
He studied under Philo, but was so far from agreeing with 
him that lie wrote a treatise on purpose to refute what he con- 
sidered as the scepticism of the Academics. And undoubtedly 
the later philosophers of that school had exaggerated the 
teaching of Plato, that the senses were not in all cases trust- 
worthy organs of perception, so as to infer from it a denial 
of the certainty of any knowledge whatever. Antiochus pro- 
fessed that his object was to revive the real doctrines of Plato 
in opposition to the modern scepticism of Carueades and 
Philo. He appears to have considered himself as an eclectic 
philosopher, combining the best parts of the doctrines of the 
Academic, Peripatetic, and Stoic schools. 

Diodorus of Tyre flourished about B.C. 110. He lived at 
Athens, where he succeeded Critolaus as the head of the Peri- 
patetic school. Cicero, however, denies that he was a genuine 
Peripatetic, and says that his doctrine that the sunwium 
bonum consisted in a combination of virtue with the absence 
of pain was an attempt to reconcile the theory of the Stoics 
with that of the Epicureans. 

Fancetlus was a native of Hhodes; his exact age is not 
known, but he was a contemporary of Scipio ^milianus, who 
died B.C. 129. He went to Athens at an early age, where he 
is said to have been a pupil of Diogenes of Babylon and 
Antipater of Tarsus, and also of Polemo Periegetes. Ho 


becaiiiC asaociated with P. Scipio iEruilianus, who valued hiia 
highly. The latter part of his life he spent at Athens, where 
he had succeeded Antipater as head of the Stoic school. He 
was the author of a treatise ou " What is Becoming," which 
(Jicero professes to have imitated, though carried rather further, 
m liis De Officiis. He softened down the harsher features of 
tin; Stoic doctrines, approximating them in some degree to 
the opinions of Xenocrates, Plato, and Aristotle, and made 
tliem attractive by the elegance of his style ; indeed, he 
modified the principles of the school so much, that some 
writers called him a Platonist. In natural philosophy he 
abandoned the Stoic doctrine of the conflagration of the 
world ; endeavoured to simplify the division of the faculties 
< f the soul ; and doubted the reality of the science of divina- 
tion. In ethics he followed the method of Aristotle; and, in 
direct opposition to the earlier Stoics, vindicated the claim of 
certain pleasurable sensations to be regarded as in accordance 
with nature. 

Polemo was a pupil of Xenocrates, and succeeded him as 
the head of his school. There is a story that he had been a 
veiy dissolute young man, and that one day, at the head of 
a band of revellers, he burst into the school of Xenocrates, 
when his attention was so arrested by the discourse of the 
philosopher, which happened to be ou the subject of tempe- 
rance, that he tore off his festive garland, remained till the 
end of the lecture, and devoted himself to philosophy all the 
rest of his life. He does not appear to have varied at all from 
the doctrines of his master. He died B.C. 273. 

Archytas was a native of Tarentum : his age is not quite 
certain, but he is believed to have been a contemporary of 
Plato, and he is even said to have saved his life by his 
interest with the tyrant Dionysius. He was a great general 
and statesman, as well as a philosopher. In philosophy he 
ff-ds a Pythagorean ; and, like most of that school, a great 
•liathematician ; and applied his favom-ite science not only to 
music, but also to metaphysics. Aristotle is believed to have 
boiTOWed from him his System of Categories. 


The limits of Lhis volume forbid more than the preceding 
very brief sketch of the chiefs of tiie ancient philosojihy. 
For a more detailed account the reader is referred tu the 
Biogi\a])hical Dictionaiy edited by Dr. Smith, from which 
valuable work much of this sketch has been derived. The ac- 
count of Socrates has been principally derived from Mr. Grote's 
admirable history of Greece: in which attention has so suc- 
cessfully been devoted to the history of philosophy and the 
sophists, that a correct idea of the subject can hardly be 
acquired without a careful study of that work. 

It was intended to subjoin a comparison of the systems of 
the different sects, but it would take more space than can be 
spared ; and it is moreover unnecessary, as, the distinctive 
tenets of each having been explained, the reader is supplied 
with STifficient materials to institute such a comparison for 
liiniself He will not wonder that men without the guidance 
■ >t' revelation should at times have lost their way in specula- 
tions beyond tlie reach of human faculties, but will the more 
admire that genius and virtue which manifested itself in such 
men as Socrates, Plato, and Cicero, for the penjetual enlighten- 
ment of the human race. 


The following account of the two Books of the Acadeniica 
is extracted from the Dictionary of Greek and Roman Bio- 
graphy, edited by Dr. W. Smith : — 

" The history of this work, before it finally quitted the 
hands of its author, is exceedingly curious and somewhat 
obscure ; but must be clearly understood before we can 
explain the relative position of those portions of it which 
have been transmitted to modern times. By comparing 
carefully a sei-ies of letters written to Atticus, in the course 
of B.C. 45 (Ep. ad Att. xiii. 32 j' 12, 13, U, 16, 18, 19, 21, 

' The following are the most important of the passages referi'ed to : — 
" Since I entered upon these philosophical inquiries, Varro has given 
me notice of a and honourable dedication of a work of his to 
me. ... In the mean time I have been preparing myself as he desired 
to make him a return. 

oi)ti£ T(j5 fjjTpcf) Kal Xdiov aXKe Sivoofxai. 
1 may as well, therefore, remove from my Academical Disputations the 
present speakers, who are distinguished characters indeed, but by no 
means philosophical, and who discourse with too much subtlety, and 
substitute Varro in their place. For these are the opinions of Antiochus, 
to which he is much attached. I can find a place for Catulus and 
Lucullus elsewhere. — Ep. 12. 

"The Catulus and Lucullus I imagine yon have had before; but I 
have made new introductions to these books which I wish you to have, 
containing an eulogium upon each of these persons, and there are some 
other additions — Ep. 32. 

" In consequence of the letter which you wrote to me about Varro, 
I have taken the Academy entirely out of the hands of those distin- 
guished persons, and transferred it to our friend. And from two booka 
I have made it into four. These are longer than the others were, 

though there are several parts left out In truth, if my self-love 

does not deceive me, these books have come out in such a manner that 
there is nothing of the same kind like them even in Greek." — Ep, 13. 

ACAD. KTO B " I liave 


22, 23, 25, 35, 44), we find that Cicero had drawn up a 
treatise upon the Academic Philosophy, in the form of a 
dialogue between Catulus, Lucullus, and Horteusius ; and 

" I have transferred tlie whole of that Academical Treatise to Varro. 
It ha 1 at first been divided among Catulu?, Lucullus, and Hortensius- 
Afterwards, as this appeared unsuitable, owing to those persons being, 
net indeed unlearned, but notoriously unversed in such subjects, as soon 
us 1 got liome I transferred those dialogues to Cato and Brutus. Your 
letter about Varro has just reached me, and there is no one by whom 
the opinions of Antiochus could be more fitly supported." — Ep. 16. 

" I had determined to include no living persons in my dialogues; 
but since you inform me that Varro is desirous of it, and sets a great 
value upon it, I have composed this work, and completed the whole 
Academical Discussion in four books ; I know not how well, but with 
such care that nothing can exceed it. In these, what had been excel- 
lently collected by Antiochus against the doctrine of incomprehensi- 
bility, I have attributed to Varro; to this I reply in my own person, 
and you are the third in our conversation. If I had made Cotta and 
Varro disputing with one another, as you suggest in your last letter, my 
own would have been a mute cliaracter 

" The Academics, as you know, I had discussed in the persons of 
Catulus, Lucullus, and Hortensius; but in truth the subject did not suit 
their characters, being more logical than what they could be supposed 
ever to have dreamt of. Therefore, when I read your letter to Varro, 
I seized on it as a sort of inspiration. Nothing could be more adapted 
to that species of philosophy in which he seems to take particular 
delight; or to the support of such a part that I could manage to avoid 
making my own sentiments predominant. For the opinions of An- 
tiochus are extremely persuasive, and are so carefully expressed as to 
retain the acuteness of Antiochus with my own brilliancy of language, 
if indeed 1 possess any." — Ep. 19. 

The Antiochus mentioned above was a native of Ascalon, and the 
founder of the fifth Academy; he had been the teacher of Cicero while 
he studied at Athens; and he had also a school in Syria and another in 
Alexandria. Cicero constantly speaks of him with great regard and 
esteem. The leaders of the Academy since the time of Plato, (and 
Cicero ranks even him among those philosophers who denied the cer- 
tainty of any kind of knowledge,) had gradually fallen into a degree of 
scepticism that seemed to strike at the root of all truth, theoretical and 
practical. But Antiochus professed to revive the doctrines of the old 
Academy, maintaining, in opposition to Carneades and Pliilo, that the 
intellect had in itself a test by which it could distinguish between what 
was real and what existed only in the imagination. He himself appears 
to have held doctrines very nearly coinciding with those of Aristotle ; 
agreeing however so far with the Stoics as to insist that all emotions 
ouglit to be suppressed. So that Cicero almost inclines to class him 
among the Stoics ; thou-'h it appears that he considered himself as an 
Eclectic philosopher, uniting the doctrines of the Stoics ind Academici 
ko as to revive the old Acadeiay. 


that it was comprised in two books, the first bearing the 
name of Catulus, the second that of Lucullus. A copy was 
sent to Atticus; and, soon after it reached him, two new- 
Introductions were composed, the one in praise of Catuhis, 
the other in praise of Lucullus. Scarcely had this been done, 
when Cicero, from a conviction that Catiilus, Lucullus, and 
Hortensius, although men of highly cultivated minds, and 
well acquainted with general literature, were known to have 
been little conversant with the subtle arguments of abstruse 
philosophy, determined to withdraw them altogether, ano' 
accordingly substituted Cato and Brutus in their place. Im- 
mediately after this change had been introduced, he received 
a communication from Atticus, representing that Varro was 
much offended by being passed over in the discussion of 
topics in which he was so deeply versed. Thereupon Cicero, 
catching eagerly at the idea thus suggested, resolved to re- 
cast the whole piece, and quickly produced, under the old 
title, a new and highly improved edition, divided into four 
books instead of two, dedicating the whole to Varro, to whom 
was assigned the task of defending the tenets of Antiochus ; 
while Cicero himself undertook to support the views of Philo, 
Atticus also taking a share in the conversation. 

" But, although these alterations had been effected with 
extreme rapidity, the copy originally sent to Atticus had in 
the meantime been repeatedly transcribed ; hence both edi- 
tions passed into circulation, and a part of each has been pre- 
served. One section, containing twelve chapters, is a short 
fragment of the second or Varronian edition. The other, 
containing forty-nine chapters, is the entire second book of 
the first edition ; to which is prefixed the new introduction, 
together with tlie proper title of Lucullus. The scene of the 
Catulus was the villa of that statesman, at Cumse ; while the 
Lucullus is supposed to have been held at the mansion of 
Hortensius, near Bauli. 

" The object proposed was to give an account of the rise and 
progress of the Academic Philosophy, to point out the A'avious 
modifications introduced by successive professors, and to 
demonstrate the superiority of the principles of the New 
Academy, as taught by Philo, over those of the old, as advo- 
sated by Avitioch\;s," 


I. When a short time ago my friend Atticus' was with ma 
at my villa in the district of Cumse, news was sent us by 
Marcus'^ Varro, that ho had arrived in Rome the day before 
in the evening, and that if he had not found himself too tired 
after his journey he should have pi'oceeded at once to see us. 
But when we heard this, we thought that we ought not to 
siifler anything to delay our seeing a man so intimately con- 
nected with us by an identity of studies, and by a very long 
standing intimacy and friendship. And so we set out at once 
to go to see him ; and when we were no great distance from 
liis villa we saw him coming towards us; and when we had 
embraced him, as the manner of friends is, after some time we 
accompanied him back to his villa. And as I was asking a 
few questions, and inquiring wliat was the news at Rome, 
Never mind those things, said Atticus, which we can neither 
inquire about nor hear of without vexation, but ask him 
rather whether he has written anything new ; for the muse of 
Varro has been silent much longer than usual ; thougli I 
rather suppose he is suppressing for a time what he has 
wi'itten, than that he has been really idle. You are quite 
wrong, said he ; for I think it very foolish conduct in a man 
to write what he wishes to have concealed. But I have a 

' Titus Pomponius Atticus was three years older than Cicero, with 
whom he had been educated, and with whom he always continued on 
terms of the greatest intimacy; his daughter was married to Agrippa. 
Pie was of the Epicurean school in philosophy. He died b.c. 32 

- Marcus Terentius Varro was ten years older than Cicero, and a man ■ 
of the most extensive and profound learning. He had held a naval com- 
mand against the pirates, and against Mithridates, and served as lieu- 
tenant to Pompey in Spain, at the beginning of the civil war, adhering 
to his party till after the battle of Pharsalia, when he was pardoned, 
and taken into favour by Caesar. He was proscribed by the second 
triumvirate, but es.caped, and died b o. 28. He was a very voluminous 
author, and according to his own account composed four hundred and 
ninety books ; but only one, the three books De Re Rustica, have come 
down to us, and a portion of a large treatise De Lingud Latind. 

In philosophy he had been a pupil of Antiochus, and attached hiui- 
;iclf to the Acailemy with sgnjetlung of a leaning to the Stoics. 


gi-eat work on hand; for I have been a long time preparing a 
treatise which I have dedicated to my friend here, (he meant 
nie,) which is of great importancej and is being pohshed up 
by me with a good deal of care. 

I have been waiting to see it a long time, Varro, said T, 
but still I have not ventured to ask for it. For I heard 
from our friend Libo, with whose zeal you are well acquainted, 
(for I can never conceal anything of that kind,) that you have 
not been slackening in the business, but are expending a 
great deal of care on it, and in fact never put it out of your 
hands. But it has never hitherto come into my mind to ask 
you about it ; however now, since I have begun to commit to 
a dm-able record those things which I leai-nt in your com- 
pany, and to illustrate in the Latin language that ancient 
philosophy whicii originated with Socrates, I must ask you 
why it is that, while you write on so many subjects, you pass 
over this one, especially when you yourself are very eminent 
in it ; and when that study, and indeed the whole subject, is 
far superior in importance to all other studies and arts. 

II. You are asking me, he replied, about a matter on 
which I have often deliberated and frequently revolved in my 
mind. And, therefore, I will answer you without any hesita- 
tion; still, however, speaking quite off-hand, because I have, 
as I said just now, thought over the subject both deeply and 
frequently. For as I saw that philosophy had been explained 
with gi-eat care in the Greek language, I thought that if any 
of our countrymen were engrossed by the study of it, who 
were well versed in Greek literature, they would be more 
likely to read Greek treatises than Latin ones: but that 
those men who were averee to Greek science and to the 
schools of the Gmek philosophers would not care the least for 
such matters as these, which could not be unttei-stood at all 
without some acquaintance "nath Greek literature. And, 
therefore, I did not choose to write treatises w^hich unlearned 
men could not understand, and learned men would not be at 
the trouble of reading. And you yourself are aware of this. 
For you have learnt that we cannot resemble Amafaniiis ' or 
Rabirius,'^ who without any art discuss mattei's which come 
before the eyes of every one in plain ordinary language, 

' Amafanius was one of the earliest Roman writers of the Epicurean 
eehojl. He is mentioned by no one but Cicero. 
' \\i> do not know who this liabirius was. 


driving no accurate definitions, making no divisions, drawing 
no inferences by well-directed questions, and who appear to 
think that there is no such thing as any art of speaking or 
disputing. But wc, in obedience to the precepts of the logi- 
cians and of orators also, as if they were positive laws, (since 
our countrj'men consider skill in each of these branches to be 
a virtue,) are compelled to use words although they may be 
new ones; which learned men, as I have said before, will 
prefer taking from the Greeks, and which unlearned men will 
not receive even from us ; so that all our labour may be 
undertaken in vain. But now, if I approved of the doctrines 
of Epicurus, that is to say, of Democritus, I could write of 
natui-al philosophy in as plain a style as Amafanius. For 
what is the great difficulty when you have put an end to all 
efficient causes, in speaking of the fortuitous concourse of cor- 
puscules, for this is the name he gives to atoms. You know 
our system of natural philosophy, which depends upon the 
two principles, the efficient cause, and the subject matter out 
of which the efficient cause forms and produces what it does 
produce. For we must have recoui'se to geometry, since, if 
we do not, in what words will any one be able to enunciate the 
pi'inciples he wishes, or whom will he be able to cause to 
comprehend those assertions about life, and manners, and 
desiring and avoiding such and such things ? 

For those men are so simple as to think the good of a sheep 
and of a man the same thing. While you know the cha- 
racter and extent of the accuracy which philosophers of oui* 
school profess. Again, if you follow Zeno, it is a hard thing to 
make any one understand what that genuine and simple good 
is which cannot be separated from honesty; while Epicurus 
asserts that he is wholly unable to comprehend what the 
character of that good may be which is unconnected with 
fjleasures which affect the senses. But if we follow the 
doctrines of the Old Academy which, as you know, we prefer, 
then with what accuracy must we apply ourselves to explain it ; 
with what shrewdness and even with what obscurity must we 
argue against the Stoics ! The whole, therefore, of that eager- 
ness for philosophy I claim for myself, both for the purpose 
of strengthening my firmness of conduct as far as I can, and 
also for the delight of my mind. Nor do I thmk, as Plato 
says, that any more important or more valuable gift has been 
given to men by the gods. But I send all my friends whj 


have any zeal for philosophy into Greece ; that is to say. I bid 
them study the Greek writers, in order to draw their precepts 
from the fountain-head, rather than follow little streams. 
But those things which no one had previously taught, and 
which could not be learnt in any quarter by those who were 
eager on the subject, I have laboured as far as I could (for 
I have no gi'eat opinion of anything which I have done 
in this line) to explain to our fellow-countrymen. For 
this knowledge could not be sought for among the Greeks, 
nor, after the death of our friend Lucius ^lius,' among the 
Latins either. And yet in those old works of ours which we 
composed in imitation of Menippus,^ not translating him, 
sprinkling a little mirth and sportiveness over the whole sub- 
ject, there are many things mingled which are drawn from 
the most recondite philosophy, and many points argued 
according to the rules of strict logic; but I added these 
lighter matters in order to make the whole more easy for 
people of moderate learning to comprehend, if they were 
invited to read those essays by a pleasing style, displayed in 
panegyrics, and in the very prefaces of my books of anti- 
quities. And this was my object in adopting this style, how- 
ever I may have succeeded in it. 

IIL The fact, I replied, is just as you say, Yarro. For 
while we were sojourners, as it were, in our own city, and 
wandering about like strangers, your books have conducted 
us, as it were, home again, so as to enable us at last to 
recognise who and where we were. You have discussed the 
antiquity of our country, and the variety of dates and chrono- 
logy relating to it. You have explained the laws which regu- 
late sacrifices and priests ; you have luifolded the customs of 
the city both in war and peace; you have described the 

* Lucius ^lius Prseconinus Stilo waf? a Roman knight, and one of 
the earliest grammarians of Rome. Cicero in the Brutus describes him 
as a very learned man in both Greek and Roman literature ; and espe- 
cially in old Latin works. He had been a teacher of Varro in grammar, 
and of Cicero himself in rhetoric. He received the name of Stilo from 
his compositions; and of Praeconinus because his father had been a 

2 Menippus was originally a slave, a native of Gadara in Coele Syria, 
and a pupil of Diogenes the Cynic. He became very rich by usury, 
afterwards he lost his money and committed suicide. He wrote nothing 
Berious, but his books were entirely full of jests. We have some frag- 
ments of Varrc's Satyra? Menippese, which were written, as wc are hero 
told, in imitation of Menippu*. 


various quarters and districts; you have omitted mentiouiug 
none of the names, or kinds, or functions, or causes of divine 
or huuian things ; you have thrown a great deal of light on 
our poets, and altogether on Latin literature and on Latin 
expressions; you have yourself composed a poem of varied 
beauties, and elegant in almost every point ; and you have in 
many places touclied upon philosophy in a manner sufficient 
to excite ou-r curiosity, though inadequate to instruct us. 

You allege, indeed, a very plausible reason for this. For, 
you say, those who are learned men will prefer reading 
philosophical treatises in Greek, and those who are ignorant 
of Greek will not read them even in Latin. However, tell 
me now, do you really agree with your own argument ? I 
would rather say, those who are unable to read them in the 
one language will read them in the other; and even those 
who can read them in Greek will not despise their own lan- 
guage. For what reason can be imagined why men learned 
in Greek literature should read the Latin poets, and not read 
the Latin philosophers? Or again, if Ennius,^ Pacuvius, 
Accius, and many others who have given us, I will not say the 
exact expressions, but the meaning of the Greeks, delight their 
readers ; how much more will the philosophers delight them, 
if, as the poets have imitated ^schylus, Sophocles, and Euri- 
pides, they in like manner imitate Plato, Aristotle, and 
Theophrastus 1 I see, too, that any orators among us are 
praised who imitate Hyperides or Demosthenes. 

But I, (for I will speak the plain truth,) as long as ambi- 
tion and the pursuit of public honours and the pleading of 
causes, and not a mere regard for the republic, but even a 

1 Cicero ranges these poets here iu chronological order. 

Ennius was born at Kudire in Calabria, B.C. 239, of a very noble 
family. He was brought to Rome by M. Porcius Cato at the end of the 
second Punic war. His plays were all translations or adaptations from 
the Greek ; but he also wrote a poetical history of Ptome called Annales, 
in eighteen books, and a poem on his friend Scipio Afrieanus; some 
Satires, Epigrams, and one or two philosophical poems. Only a few 
lines of his works remain to us. He died at the age of seventy. 

Pacuvius was a native of Brundusium, and a relation, probably a 
nephew, of Ennius. He was born about b.c. 220, and lived to about 
the year B.C. 130. His works were nearly entirely tragedies translated 
from the Greek. Horace, distinguishing between him and Accius, 

" Aufert 
Pacuvius docti famam seuis; Accius altl." — Episl II. i. 55. 


certain degi'ee of concern in its government, entanglea rne in 
and hampered me with the numerous duties in which those 
occupations involved me ; I kept, I say, all these matters to 
myself, and brushed them up, when I could, by reading, to 
prevent their getting rusty. But now, having been stricken 
to the ground by a must severe blew of fortune, and .being 
discharged fi'om all concern in the republic, I seek a medicine 
for my sorrow in philosophy, and consider this study the 
most honourable pastime for my leisure. For I may look 
upon it as most suitable to my age, and most esjiecially con- 
sistent with an}' memorable exploits which I may have per- 
formed, and inferior to no other occupation in its usefulness 
for the pvu-pose of educating my fellow-countrymen. Or even 
if this be too high a view to take of it, at all events I see 
nothing else which I can do. My friend Brutus, indeed, a 
man eminent for every kind of virtue, has illustrated philo- 
sophy in the Latin language in such a way that he has left 
Greece nothing to wish for on those subjects. And he adopts 
the same opinions that you do. For he was for some time a 
pupil of Aristus, at Athens, whose brother Antiochus was 
your own preceptor. And therefore do you also, I entreat 
you, apply yourself to this kind of literature. 

IV. Then he replied. I will indeed consider of these 
matters, but only in your company. But still, said he, what 
is this which I hear about you yourself? On what subject 1 
said I. Why, that the old system is deserted by 3'ou, and 
that you have espoused the principles of the new school. 
What of that? said I. Why should Antiochus, my own inti- 
mate friend, be more at liberty to return back again from the 
new school to the old, than I myself to migrate to the new 
from the old ? For certainly everything that is most recent 
is corrected and amended in the highest degree; although 
Philo, the master of Antiochus, a great man, as you yourself 
consider him, used to deny in his books that there were two 
Academies (and we ourselves have heai'd him assert the same 
things in his lectures) ; and he convicts those who say that 
there are, of palpable mistake. It is as you say, said he, but 
I do not imagine that you are ignorant of what Antiochus 
has written in reply to the arguments of Philo. Certainly, 
said I, I am not, and I should like to hear the whole cause 
of the Old Academy, from which I have been so long absent; 


recapitulated by you, if it is not giving you too much trouble • 
Rud let us sit down now. if you have no objection. That 
will suit me very well, said he, for I am not at all strong. 
But let us consider whether Atticus will be pleased with that 
compliance of mine, which I see that you yourself are desirous 
of. Indeed I shall, said he; for what could I prefer to being 
reminded of what I long ago heard from Antiochus, and seeing 
at the same time whether those ideas can be expressed with 
sufficient suitableness in Latin 1 So after this preface we all sat 
down looking at one another. And Van*o began as follows : — 

Socrates appears to me, and indeed it is the universal 
opinion, to have been the first person who drew philosophy 
away from matters of an abstruse character, whicfi had been 
shrouded in mystery by nature hei'self, and in which tdl the 
philosophers before his time had been wholly occupied, and 
to have diverted it to the objects of ordinary life; directing 
its speculations to virtues and vices, and generally to Avhat- 
ever was good or bad. And he thought that the heavenly 
bodies were either far out of the reach of our knowledge, or 
that, even if we became ever so intimately acquainted with 
them, they had no influence on living well. In nearly all his 
discourses, which have been reported in great variety and 
very fully by those who were his pupils, he argues in such a 
manner that he affirms nothing himself, but refutes the asser- 
tions of others. He says that he knows nothing, except that 
one fact, that he is ignorant ; and that he is superior to others 
in this particular, that they believe that they do know what 
they do not, while he knows this one thing alone, that he knows 
nothing. And it is on that account that he imagines he was 
pronounced by Apollo the wisest of all men, because this 
alone is the whole of wisdom, for a man not to think that he 
knows what he does not know. And as he was always saying 
this, and persisting in the maintenance of this opinion, his 
discourse was entirely devoted to the praise of virtue, and to 
encouraging all men to the study of virtue ; as may be plainly 
seen in the books of the disciples of Socrates, and above all in 
those of Plato. But by the influence of Plato, a man of vast 
and varied and eloquent genius, a system of philosophy was 
established which was one and identical, though under two 
names; the system namely of the Academics and Peripa- 
tetics. For these two schools agreed in reality, and differed 
only in name. For when Plato had left Spcusippus, his 


sister's son, the inheritor as it were of his philosophy, and also 
two pupils most eminent for industry and genius, Xenocrates 
of Chalcedon, and Aristotle the Stagirite ; those who adhered 
to Aristotle were called Peripatetics, because they disputed 
while walking' in the Lyceum. And the others, who according 
to the fashion of Plato himself were accustomed to hold their 
meetings and discussions in the Academy, which is a second 
Gymnasium, took their name fi-om the place where they used 
to meet. But both these schools, being impregnated with 
the copiousness of Plato, arranged a certain definite system of 
doctrine, which was itself copious and luxuriant ; but aban- 
doned the Socratic plan of doubting on every subject, and of 
discussing everything without ever venturing on the assertion 
of a positive opinion. And thus there arose what Socrates 
would have been far from approving of, a certain art of philo- 
sophy, and methodical aiTangement, and division of the 
school, which at first, as I have already said, was one under 
two names. For there was no real difference between tlie 
Peripatetics and the old Academy. Aristotle, at least such is 
my opinion, was superior in a certain luxm'iance of genius; 
but both schools had the same source, and adopted the same 
division of things which were to be desired and avoided. But 
what am I about? said he, interrupting himself; am I in mj' 
senses while I am explaining these things to you? for although 
it may not be exactly a case of the pig teaching Minerva, 
still it is not very wise of any one to attempt to impart in- 
struction to that goddess. 

V. I enti-eat you however, said Atticus. I entreat you to 
go on, Varro. For I am greatly attached to my own countiy- 
men and to their works ; and those subjects delight me beyond 
measure when they are treated in Latin, and in such a man- 
ner as you treat them. And what, said I, do you think that 
I must feel, who liave already engaged to display philosophy 
to our nation 1 Let us then, said he, continue the subject, 
yince it is agreeable to you. 

A threefold system of philosophising, then, was already re- 
ceived from Plato. One, on the subject of life and morals. A 
second, on nature and abstruse matters. The third, on dis- 
cussion, and on what is true or false ; what is right or wronc 
1)1 a discourse ; what is consistent or inconsistent in forming 
a decision. 

' From TrtptwaTfu, to walk. 


Aud that first diviBiou of the subject, that namely of living 
well, they sought in nature herself, and said tliat it was neces- 
eary to obey her ; and that that chief good to which every- 
thing was referred was not to be sought in anything whatever 
except in nature. And they laid it down that the crowning 
point of all desirable things, and the chief good, was to have 
received from nature everything which is requisite for the 
mind, or the body, or for life. But of the goocls of the body, 
they placed some in the whole, and others in the parts. 
Health, strength, and beauty in the whole. In the parts, 
soundness of the senses, and a certain excellence of the indi- 
vidual parts. As in the feet, swiftness; in the hands, strength ; 
in the voice, clearness; in the tongue, a distinct articulation 
of words. The excellences of the mind they considered* those 
which were suitable to the comprehension of virtue by the 
disposition. And those they divided under the separate heads 
of nature and morals. Quickness in learning and memory 
they attributed to nature ; each of which was described as a 
property of the mind and genius. Under the head of " moi^als" 
they classed our studies, and, I may say, our habits, which they 
formed, partly by a continuity of practice, partly by reason. 
And in these two things was contained philosophy itself, in 
which that which is begun and not brought to its completion, 
is called a sort of advance towards virtue ; but that wliich is 
brought to completion is vii'tue, being a sort of perfection of 
nature and of all things which they place in the mind ; the 
one most excellent thing. These things then are qualities of 
the mind. 

The third division was that of life. And they said that 
those things which had influence in facilitating the practice of 
virtue were connected with this division. For virtue is dis- 
cerned in some good qualities of the mind and body, which 
are added not so much to nature as to a happy life. They 
thought tliat a man was as it were a certain part of the state, 
and of the whole liMman race, and that he was connected with 
other men by a sort of human society. And tliis is the way 
in which they deal with the chief and natural good. But they 
think that everything else is connected with it, either in the 
way of increasing or of maintaining it; as riches, power, 
glory, and influence. And thus a threefold division of goods 
its inferred by them. 


VI. And these are those three kinds which most peoj)la 
believe the Peripatetics speak of: and so far they are not 
wrong ; for this division is the work of that school. But 
they are mistaken if they think that the Academicians — those 
at least who bore this name at that time — are difFei-ent from 
the Peripatetics. The principle, and the chief good tisserted 
by both appeared to be the same — namely, to attain those 
things which were in the first class by nature, and which 
were intrinsically desirable ; the whole of them, if possible, 
or, at all events, the most important of them. But those are 
the most important which exist in the mind itself, and are 
conversant about virtue itself. Thei-efore, all that ancient 
philosophy perceived that a happy life was placed in virtue 
alone j and yet that it was not the happiest life possible, 
unless the good qualities of the body were added to it, and all 
the other things winch have been already mentioned, which 
are serviceable towards acquiring a habit of virtue. From 
this definition of theirs, a certain principle of action in life, 
and of duty itself, was discovered, which cons'isted in the 
preservation of those things which nature might prescribe. 
Hence arose the avoidance of sloth, and contempt of plea- 
sures ; from which proceeded the willingness to encounter 
many and great labours and pains, for the sake of what was 
right and honourable, aud of those things which tu-e con- 
formable to the objects of nature. Hence was generated 
friendship, and justice, and equity ; and these things were 
preferred to pleasure and to many of the advantages of life. 
This was the system of morals recommended in their school, 
and the method and design of tliat division which I have 
placed first. 

But concei-ning nature (for that came next), they spoke in 
such a manner that they divided it into two parts, — making 
one efficient, and the other lending itself, as it were, to the 
first, as sulrject matt-er to be worked upon. For that part 
which was efficient they thought there was power; and in 
that which was made sometliing by it they thought there 
was some matter ; and something of both in each. For 
they considered that matter itself could have no cohesion, 
unless it wei'C held together by some power ; and that power 
could have none without some matter to work upon ; for that is notliing which is not necessarily somewhere. But 


that which exists from a combination of tlie two they called 
at once body, and a sort of quality, as it were. For you will 
give mc leave, in speaking of subjects which have not pre- 
viously been in fashion, to use at times words which have 
never been heard of (which, indeed, is no more than the 
Greeks themselves do, who have been long in the habit of 
discussing these subjects). 

VII. To be sure we will, said Atticus. Moreover, you may 
even use Greek words when you wish, if by chance you 
should be at a loss for Latin ones. You are very kind ; but 
I will endeavour to express myself in Latin, except in the 
case of such words as these — philosophia, rhetorica, physica, 
or dialectica, which, like many others, fashion already sanc- 
tions, as if they were Latin. I therefore hace called those 
things qualitates (qualities), which the Greeks call TrotorT^res — 
a word which, even among the Greeks, is r;oc one in ordinary 
use, but is confined to philosophers. And the same rule 
applies to many other expressions. As for the Dialecticians, 
they have no terms in common use : they use technical terras 
entirely. And the case is the same with nearly every art ; for 
men must either invent new names for new things, or else 
borrow them from other subjects. And if the Greeks do this, 
who have now been engaged in such matters for so many 
ages, how much more ought this licence to be allowed to us, 
who are now endeavouring to deal with these subjects for the 
first time? But, said I, Varro, it appears to me that you 
will deserve well of your fellow-countrymen, if you enrich 
them, not only with an abundance of new things, as you have 
done, but also of words. We will venture, then, said he, to 
employ new terms, if it be necessary, armed with your autho- 
rity and sanction. 

Of these qualities, then, said he, some are principal ones, 
and others arise out of them . The principal ones are of one 
character and simple ; but those which arise out of them ai'e 
vai'ious, and, as it were, multiform. Tiierefore, air (we use 
the Greek word drjp as Latin), fire, water, and earth are prin- 
cipal ones ; and out of them there arise the forms of living 
creatures, and of those tilings which are produced out of the 
earth. Therefore, those first are called principles and (to 
translate the Greek word) elements : from which air and fire 
have the power of movement and efficiency : the other divi* 


sious — T mean, water and the earth — have the power of 
receiving, and, as it were, of suffering. The fifth class, from 
which the stars and winds were formed, Aristotle considered 
to be a separate essence, and different from those four wliich 
I have mentioned above. 

But they think that there is placed under all of these a 
certain matter without any form, and destitute of all quality 
(for we may as well, by constant use, make this word more 
usual and notorious), from which all things are sketched out 
and made ; which can receive everything in its entirety, and 
can be changed in every manner and in every part. And also 
that it perishes, not so as to become nothing, but so as to be 
dissolved with its component parts, which again ai"e able to 
be cut up and divided, ad infinitum; since there is absolutely 
nothing in the whole nature of things which cannot be di- 
vided : and those things which are moved, are all moved at 
intervals, which intervals again are capable of being infinitely 
divided. And, since tliat power which we have called quality 
is moved in this way, and is agitated in every direction, they 
think also that the whole of matter is itself entirely changed, 
and so that those things are produced which they call quali- 
ties, from which the world is made, in universal nature, 
cohering together and connected with all its divisions ; and, 
out of the world, there is no such thing as any portion of 
matter or any body. 

And they say that the parts of the world are all the things 
which exist in it, and which are maintained by sentient 
nature ; in which perfect reason is placed, which is also ever- 
lasting : for that thei'e is nothing more powerful which can be 
the cause of its dissolution. And this power they call the 
soul of the world, and also its intellect and perfect wisdom. 
And they call it God, a providence watching over evei-ything 
subject to its dominion, and, above all, over the heavenly 
bodies; and, next to them, over those things on earth which 
concern men : which also they sometimes call necessity, 
because nothing can be done in a manner different from that 
in which it has been ari'anged by it, in a destined (if I may so 
say) and inevitable continuation of eternal order. Sometimes, 
too, they call it fortune, because it brings about many unfore- 
eeeu things, which have never been expected by us, on accouni 
of the obscurity of their causes, and our ignorance of them. 


VIII. The third part of philosophy, which is next in order, 
being conversant about reason and discussion, ivus thus han- 
dled by both schools. They said that, although it originated 
in the senses, still the power of judging of the truth was not 
in the senses. They insisted upon it that intellect was the 
judge of things. They thought that the only thing deserving 
of belief, because it alone discerned that which was always 
simple and uniform, and which perceived its real character. 
This they call idea, having already received this name from 
Plato ; and we properly entitle it species. 

But they thought that all the senses were dull and slow, 
and that they did not by any means perceive things 
which appeared subjected to the senses ; which were either so 
small as to be unable to come under the notice of sense, or so, 
moveable and rapid that none of them was ever one con- 
sistent thing, nor even the same thing, because everything 
was in a continual state of transition and disappearance. And 
therefore they called all this division of things one resting 
wholly on opinion. But they thought that science had no 
existence anywhere except in the notions and reasonings of 
the mind ; on which account they approved of the definitions 
of things, and employed them on eveiything which was 
brought under discussion. The explanation of words also was 
approved of — that is to say, the explanation of the cause why 
everything was named as it was ; and that they called etymo- 
logy. Afterwards they used arguments, and, as it were, marks 
of things, for the proof and conclusion of what they wished to 
have explained ; in which the whole system of dialectics — that 
is to say, of an oration brought to its conclusion by ratiocina- 
tion, was handed down. And to this there was added, as a 
kind of second part, the oratorical power of speaking, which 
consists in developing a continued disccurse, comjjosed in a 
manner adapted to produce conviction. 

IX. This was the first philosophy handed down to them 
by Plato. And if you like I will explain to you those discus- 
sions which have originated in it. Indeed, said I, we shall be 
glad if you will ; and I can answer for Atticus as well as for 
myself You are quite right, said he ; for the doctrine both 
of the Peripatetics and of the old Academy is most admirably 

Aristotle, then, was the first to undermine the doctrine ci 


species, which T have just now mentioned, and which Plato 
had embraced in a wonderful manner; so that he even 
affirmed that there was something divine in it. But Theo- 
phrastus, a m^n of very delightful eloquence, and of such 
purity of morals that his probity and integrity were noto- 
I'ious to all men, broke down more vigorously still the 
authority of the old school ; for he stripped virtue of its 
beauty, and made it powerless, by denying that to live hap- 
pily depended solely on it. P'or Strato, his pupil, although 
a man of brilliant abilities, must still be excluded entirelv 
from that school ; for, having deserted that most indispensa- 
ble pai't of philosophy which is placed in virtue and morals, 
and having devoted himself wholly to the investigation of 
nature, he by that very conduct departs as widely as possible 
from his companions. But Speusippus and Xenocratcs, who 
were the earliest supporters of the system and authority of 
Plato, — and, after them, Polemo and Crates, and at the same 
time Grantor, — being all collected together in the Academy, 
diligently maintained those doctrines which they had received 
from their predecessors. Zeno and Arcesilas had been diligent 
atteuders on Polemo ; but Zeno, who preceded Arcesilas in 
point of time, and argued with more subtilty, and was a man 
of the greatest acuteuess, attempted to correct the system of 
that school. And, if you like, I will explain to you the way 
in which he set about that correction, as Antiochus used to 
explain it. Indeed, said I, I shall be very glad to hear you 
do so ; and you see that Pomponius intimates the same 
X. Zeno, then, was not at all a man like Theophrastus, to cut 
through the sinews of virtue ; but, on the other hand, he was 
one who placed everything which could have any effect in 
producing a happy life in virtue alone, and who reckoned 
nothing else a good at all, and who called that honour- 
able which was single in its nature, and tJie sole and only 
good. But as for all other things, although they wei-e neither 
good nor bad, he divided them, calling some according to, and 
others contrary to nature. There were others which he looked 
upon as placed between these two classes, and which he called 
intermediate. Those which were according to nature, he 
taught his disciples, desei-ved to be taken, and to be considered 
worthy of a certain esteem. To those which were contrary to 
nature, he assigned a contrary character ; and those of thu 



intermediate class he left as neutrals, and attributed to tliein 
uo importance whatever. But of those which he said ought 
to bo taken, he considered some worthy of a higher estimation 
and others of a less. Those which were worthy of a higher 
esteem, he ca;lled preferred; those which were only worthy of 
a lower degree, he called rejected. And as he had altered all 
these things, not so much in fact as in name, so too he defined 
some actions as intermediate, lying between good deeds and 
sins, between duty and a violation of duty ; — classing things 
done rightly as good actions, and things done wrongly (that is 
to say, sins) as bad actions. And several duties, whether dis- 
charged or neglected, he considered of an intermediate cha- 
racter, as I have already said. And whereas his predecessors 
had not placed every virtue in reason, but had said that some 
virtues were perfected by nature, or by habit, he placed them 
all in reason ; and while they thought that those kinds of 
virtues which I have mentioned above could be separated, he 
asserted that that could not be done in any manner, and 
affirmed that not only the practice of virtue (which was the 
doctrine of his predecessors), but the very disposition to it, 
was intrinsically beautiful ; and that virtue could not possibly 
be present to any one without his continually practising it. 

And while they did not entirely remove all perturbation of 
mind from man, (for they admitted that man did by nature 
grieve, and desire, and fear, and become elated by joy,) but 
only contracted it, and reduced it to narrow bounds; he 
maintained that the wise man was wholly free fi-om all these 
diseases as they might be called. And as the ancients said that 
those perturbations were natural, and devoid of reason, and 
placed desire in one part of the mind and reason in another, 
he did not agree with them either ; for he thought that all 
perturbations were voluntary, and were admitted by the 
judgment of the opinion, and that a certain unrestrained in- 
temperance was the mother of all of them. And this is nearly 
what he laid down about morals. 

XI. But about natures he held these opinions. In the 
first place, he did not connect this fifth nature, out of which 
his predecessors thought that sense and intellect were pro- 
duced, with those four principles of things. For he laid it 
down that fire is that nature which produces everything, and 
intellect, and sense. But he differed from them again, inas- 


much as he thought it absolutely impossille for anything to 
be produced from tiiat nature which was destitute of body ; 
which was the character attributed by Xenocrates and his 
predecessors to the mind, and he would not allow that that 
which produced anything, or which was produced ly any- 
thing, could possibly be anything except body. 

But he made a great many alterations in that third part of 
his philosophy, in which, first of all, he said some new things 
of the senses themselves : which he considered to be united by 
some impulse as it were, acting upon them from without. 
which he called <^avTao-ia, and which we may term perception. 
And let us recollect this word, for we shall have frequent oc- 
casion to employ it in the remainder of our discourse ; but 
to these things which are perceived, and as it wei-e accepted 
by the senses, he adds the assent of the mind, which he con- 
siders to be placed in ourselves and voluntary. He did not 
give credit to ever3^thing which is perceived, but only to those 
wiiich contain some especial character of those things which 
are seen ; but he pronounced what was seen, when it was dis- 
cerned on account of its own power, comprehensible — will 
you allow me this word ? Certainly, said Atticus, for how 
else are you to express KaraXyprTos '( But after it had been 
received and approved, then he called it comprehension, re- 
sembling those things which are taken up (prehendmitur) in 
the hand ; from which verb also he derived thig noun, though 
no one else had ever used this verb with reference to such 
matters ; and he also used many new words, for he was speak- 
ing of new things. But that which was comprehended by 
sense he called felt (sensum,) and if it was so comprehended 
that it could not be eradicated by i-eason, he called it know- 
ledge ; otherwise he called it ignorance : from which also wan 
engendered opinion, which was weak, and comj)atible with 
what was false or unknown. But between knowledge and 
ignorance he placed that comprehension which I have spoken 
of, and reckoned it neither among what was right or what 
was wrong, but said that it alone deserved to be trusted. 

And from this he attributed credit alsc to the senses, be 
caUiBe, as I have said above, comprehension made by tlio 
senses appeared to him to be true and trustworthy. Not 
because it comprehended all that existed in a thing, but be- 
cause it left out nothing which could affect it, and because 



liiiture had given it to us to be as it were a rule of know 
ledge, and a principle from which subsequently all uotious of 
things might be impressed on our minds, from which not only 
j)rineiples, but some broader paths to the discovery of reason 
are found out. But error, and rashness, and ignorance, and 
opinion, and suspicion, and in a word everything which was 
inconsistent with a firm and consistent assent, he discarded 
from virtue and wisdom. And it is in these things that 
nearly all the disagreement between Zeno and his predecessors, 
and all his alteration of their system consists. 

XII. And when he had spoken thus — You have, said I, 
Varro, explained the principles both of the Old Academy 
and of the Stoics with brevity, but also with great clearness. 
But I think it to be true, as Antiochus, a great friend of mine, 
used to assert, that it is to be considered rather as a coiTected 
edition of the Old Acadamy, than as any new sect. Then 
Varro replied — It is your j^art now, w^ho revolt from the prin- 
ciples of the ancients, and who approve of the innovations 
which have been made by Arcesilas, to explain what that 
division of the two schools which he made was, and why he 
made it ; so that we may see whether that revolt of his was 
justifiable. Then I replied — Arcesilas, as we understand, 
directed all his attacks against Zeno, not out of obstinacy or 
any desire of gaining the victory, as it appears to me, but by 
reason of the obscurity of those things which had brought 
Socrates to the confession of ignorance, and even before 
Socrates, Democritus, Anaxagoras, Empedocles, and nearly 
all the ancients ; who asserted that nothing could be ascer- 
tained, or perceived, or known : that the senses of man were 
narrow, his mind feeble, the course of his life short, and that 
truth, as Democritus said, was sunk in the deep ; that ever}'- 
thing depended on opinions and established customs ; that 
nothing was left to trutli. They said in short, that every- 
thing was enveloped in darkness ; therefore Arcesilas asserted 
tliat tiiere was nothing which could be known, not even that 
very piece of knowledge wliich Socrates had left himself 
Tiius he thought that everything lay hid in secret, and that 
there was nothing which could be discerned or understood ; 
for wliich reasons it was not right for any one to profess or 
affirm anytliing, or sanction anything by his assent, but men 
ought always to restrain tlieir rasiliuess a; id to keep it in check 


SO as to guard it against every fall. For rashness would be 
very remai'kable when anything unknown or false was 
approved of; and nothing could be more discreditable than 
for a man's assent and approbation to precede his knowledge 
and perception of a fact. And he used to act consistently 
with these principles, so as to pass most of his days in arguing 
against every one's opinion, in order that when equally im- 
portant reasons were found for both sides of the same question, 
the judgment might more naturally be suspended, and pre- 
vented from giving assent to either. 

This they call the New Academy, which however appears 
to me to be the old one, if, at least, we reckon Plato as one of 
that Old Academy. For in his books nothing is affirmed 
positively, and many arguments are allowed on both sides of 
a question ; everything is investigated, and nothing positive 
affirmed. Still let the school whose principles I have ex- 
plained, be called the Old Academy, and this other the New ; 
which, having continued to the time of Carneades, who was 
the fourth in succession after Arcesilas, continued in the 
same principles and system as Arcesilas. But Carneades, 
being a man ignorant of no part of philosophy, and, as I 
have learnt from those who had been his pupils, and par- 
ticularly fi-om Zeno the Epicurean, who, though he greatly 
differed from him in opinion, still admired him above all other 
men, was also a person of incredible abilities * * * 

The rest of this Book is lost. 


1. Lucius Lucullus was a man of great genius, and very 
much devoted to the study of the most important arts ; every 
branch of liberal learning worthy of a man of high birth, was 
thoroughly understood by him; but at the time when he 
might have made the gi-eatest figure in the foiiira, he was 
wholly removed from all participation in the business of the 
city. For while he was very young, he, uniting with his 
brother, a man of equal sense of duty and diligence with him- 


sjlf, followed up the quarrel' bequeathed to him Iry his father 
to his own exceeding credit ; afterwards having gone as 
quaestor into Asia, he there governed the province for many 
years with great reputation. Subsequently he was made 
fcdile in his absence, and immediately after that he was elected 
praetor ; for his services had been rewarded by an express law 
authorizing his election at a period earlier than usual. After 
that he was sent into Africa ; from thence he proceeded to 
the consulship, the duties of which he discharged in such a 
manner, that every one admired his diligence, and recognised 
his genius. Afterwards he was sent by the Senate to conduct 
the war against Mithridates, and there he not only smrpassed 
the univci-sal expectation which every one had formed of his 
vnlour, bu t even the glory of his predecessors. And that was 
tlie more admirable in him, because great skill as a general 
was not very much looked for in one who had spent his 
youth in the occupations of the forum, and the duration of 
his qutnestorship in peace in Asia, while Murena was carrying 
on the war in Pontus. But the incredible greatness of his 
genivis did not require the aid of experience, which can 
never be taught by precepts. Therefore, having devoted the 
whole time occupied in his march and his voyage, partly 

' This Lucius Lucullus was the son of Lucius Licinius Lucullua, 
who was praetor b.c. 103, and was appointed by the senate to take the 
command in Sicily, where there was a formidable insurrection of the 
slaves under Athenion and Tryphon. He was not however successful, 
and was recalled ; and subsequently prosecuted by Servilius for bribery 
and malversation, convicted and banished. The exact time of the 
birth of this Lucullus his son is not known, but was probably about 
B.C. 109. His first appearance in public life was prosecuting Servi- 
lius, who had now become an augur, on a criminal charge, (which is 
what Cicero alludes to here.) And though the trial terminated in the 
acquittal of Servilius, yet the part Lucullus took in it appears to have 
added greatly to his credit among his contemporaries. The special law 
in his favour mentioned a few lines lower down, was passed by Sylla 
with whom Lucullus was in high favour ; so much so that Sylla at h'\:s 
death confided to him the charge of revising and correcting his Com- 
mentaries. Cicero's statement of his perfect inexperience in military 
affairs before the war against Mithridates is not quite correct, as he had 
served with distinction in the Marsic war. The time of his deaih i.« 
not certainly known, but Cicero speaks of him as dead in the Oration 
concerning the consular provinces, delivered B.C. 56, while he was cer- 
tainly alive B.C. 59, in which year he was charged by L. Vettius with 
an imaginary plot against the life of Pompey. His second wife was 
Servilia, half-sister to Cato Uticensis. 


to making inquiries of those who where skilful in such mat- 
ters, and partly in reading the accounts of great achieve- 
ments, he arrived in Asia a perfect general, though he had 
left Rome entirely ignorant of military affaire. For he had 
an almost divine memory for facts, though Hortensius had a 
better one for words. But as in performing great deeds, facts 
are of more consequence thau words, this memory of his was 
the more serviceable of the two ; and they say, that the same 
quality was conspicuous in Themistocles, whom we consider 
beyond all comparison the first man in Greece. And a story 
is told of him, that, when some one promised to teach him 
the art of memory, which was then beginning to be cultivated, 
he answered, that he should much prefer learning to forget; 
I suppose, because everything which he had either heard or 
seen stuck in his memory. 

Lucullus having this gi-eat genius, added to it that study 
which Themistocles had despised : therefore, as we write do-mi 
in letters what we wish to commit to monuments, he, in like 
manner, had the facts engraved in his mind. Therefore, he was 
a general of such perfect skill in every kind of war, in battles, 
and sieges, and naval fights, and in the whole equipment and 
management of war, that that king, the greatest that has ever 
lived since the time of Alexander, confessed, that he con- 
sidered him a gi'eater general than any one of whom he had 
ever read. He also displayed such great piiidence in arrang- 
ing and regulating the affairs of the different cities, and such 
gi'eat justice too, that to this very day, Asia is preserved by 
the careful maintenance of the regulations, and by following 
as it were in the footsteps of Lucullus, But although it was 
greatly to the advantage of the republic, still that gi-eat virtue 
and genius was kept abroad at a distance fi-om the eyes both 
of the forum and the senate-house, for a longer time than I 
could have wished. Moreover, when he had returned vic- 
torious from the war against Mithridates, owing to the ca- 
lumnies of his adversaries, he did not celebrate his triumph 
till three years later than he ought to have done. For I may 
almost say, tiiat T myself when consul led into the city the 
chariot of that most illustrious man, and I might enlarge 
upon the great advantage that his counsel and authority were 
to me, in the most critical circumstances, if it were not that 
to do so would compel me to speak of myself, which at thia 


moment is not necessary. Therefore, I will i-ather deprive 
hira of the testimony due to him, than mix it up now with a 
commendation of myself. 

II. But as for those exploits of Lucullus, which were en- 
titled to be celebrated by the praises of the nation, they have 
been extolled both in Greek and Latin wi'itings. For those 
outward exploits of his are known to lis in common with the 
multitude ; but his interior excellences (if I may so call them) 
we and a few of his friends have learnt from himself. For 
Lucullus used to apply himself to every kind of literature, 
and especially to philosophy, with greater eagerness than 
those who were not acquainted with him believed. And he 
did so, not only at his first entrance into life, but also when 
he was proqutestor, as he was for several years, and even 
during the time of war itself, a time when men are usually 
so fully occupied with their military business, that very little 
leisure is left to the general, even in his own tent. And as of 
all the philosophers of that day, Antiochus, who had been a 
pupil of Pliilo, was thought to excel in genius acd learning, 
he kept him about him while he was queestor, and some years 
afterwards when he was general. And as he had that extra- 
ordinai'y memoi-y which I have mentioned already, by hearing 
frequently of thing-s, he arrived at a thorough acquaintance 
with them ; as he recollected everything that he had heard of 
only once. And he was wonderfully delighted in the reading 
books of which he heard any one speak. 

And I sometimes fear lest I may even diminish the glory 
of such characters as his, even while wishing to enhance it; 
for thei'e are many people who are altogether averse to Greek 
literature, still more who have a dislike to philosophy, 
and men in genei'al, even though they do not positively dis- 
approve of them, still think the discussion of such mattei*3 
not altogether suitable for the chiefs of the state. But 1, 
having heard that Marcus Cato learnt Greek in his old age, 
and learning from history that Pana^tius was above all other 
men the chosen companion of Publius Africanus, in that 
noble embassy which he was employed on before he entei'ed 
on the censorship, think 1 have no need of any other instance 
to justify his study of Greek literature or of philosophy. 

It remains for me to reply to those men who disapprove of 
sucli dignified characters being mixed up in discussions of this 


6ort ; as if the meetings of illustrious men were bound to be 
passed in silence, or their conversation to be conMued to jest- 
ing, and all the topics to be drawn from trifling subjects. In 
truth, if in any one of my writings 1 have given philosophy 
its due praise, then surely its disciission is thoroughly worthy 
of eveiy excellent and honourable man ; nor is anything else 
necessary to be taken care of by us, whom tlie Roman 
people has placed in our present rank, except that we do not 
devote to our private pursuits, the time which ought to be 
bestowed on the ailairs of the public. But if, while we are 
bound to discharge our duties, we still not only never omit to 
give our assistance in all public meetings, but never even 
write a single word unconnected with the forum, who then 
will blame our leisure, because even in that moment we are 
unwilling to allow ourselves to grow nisty and stupid, but 
take pains rather to benefit as many people as possible 1 

And I think, that not only is the glory of those men not 
diminished, but that it is even increased by our adding to 
their popular and notorious praises these also wliich are less 
known and less spoken of. Some people also deny that those 
men who are introduced in our writings as disputants had 
any knowledge of those affairs which are the subjects of dis- 
cussion. But they appear to me to be showing their envy, 
not only of the living but also of the dead. 

III. There remains one class of critics who disapprove of 
the general principles of the Academy. Which we should be 
more concerned at if any one approved of any school of phi- 
losophy except that which he himself followed. But we, 
since we are in tlie habit of arguing against every one who 
appears to himself to know anything, cannot object to others 
also dissenting from us. Although our side of the question is 
an easier one, since we wish to discover the truth without any 
dispute, and we seek for that with the greatest anxiety and 
diligence. For although all knowledge is beset with many dif- 
ficulties, and tliere is that obscurity in the things themselves 
and that infirmity in our own judgment, that it is not without 
reason that the most learned and ancient philosophers have 
disti-usted their power of discovering what they wished ; yet 
tliey have not been deficient in any respect, nor do we allow 
ourselves to abandon the pureuit of truth through fatignie ; 
aor have our discussions ever any other object except that of, 


by arguing on each side, eliciting, and as it were, squeezing out 
Bomething wiucli may either be the ti-uth itself, or may at least 
come as near as possible to it. Nor is there any difference 
between us and those people who fancy that they know some- 
thing, except tliat they do not doubt at all that those doc- 
trines which they uphold are the truth, while we account 
many things as probable which we can adopt as our belief, 
but can hardly positively affirm. 

And in this we are more free and unfettered than they are, 
because our power of judging is uniuipeached, and Viecause 
we are not compelled by any necessity to defend theories 
which are laid upon as injunctions, and, if I may say so, aa 
commands. For in the first place, those of the other schools 
have been bound hand and foot before they were able to jvidge 
what was best ; and, secondly, before their age or their under- 
standing had come to maturity, they have either followed the 
opinion of some friend, or beeu charmed by the eloquence of 
some one who wag the f'rst arguer whom they ever heard, 
and so have beeu led to form a judgment on what they did 
not understand, and now they cling to whatever school they 
were, as it were, dashed against in a tempest, like sailors 
clinging to a rock. For as to their statement that they are 
wholly trusting to one whom they judge to have been a wise 
man, I should approve of that if that were a point which they, 
while ignorant and unlearned, were able to judge of, (for to 
decide who is a wise man appears to me most especially the 
task of one who is himself wise.) But they have either 
formed their opinion as well as they could from a hearing of 
all the circumstances, and also from a knowledge of the 
opinions of philosophers of all the other schools ; or else, 
having heard the matter mentioned once, they have sur- 
rendered themselves to the guidance of some one individual. 
But, I know not how it is, most people prefer being in en'or, 
and defending with the utmost pugnacity that opinion which 
they have taken a fancy to, to inquiring without any obsti- 
nacy what is said with the gi'eatest consistency. 

And these subjects were very frequently and very copiously 
discussed by us at other times, and once also in the villa of 
Hortensius, which is at Bauli, when Catulus, and Lucullus, 
and I myself had arrived there the day after we had beeu 
staying with Catulus. And we had come thither rather early 


m the day, because we had intended, if the wind was fair, to 
set sail, Lucullus for his villa near Naples, and I myself 
towards mine, in the district of Pompeii. When, therefore, 
\\ e had had a short conversation on the terrace, we sat down 
where we were. 

IV. Then Catulus said, — Although what we were inquiring 
into yesterday was almost wholly explained in such a manner 
that nearly the whole question appears to have been discussed, 
still I long to hear what you promised to tell us, Lucullus, 
as being what you had learnt from Antiochus. I, indeed, said 
Hortensius, did more than I intended, for the whole matter 
ought to have been left untouched for Lucullus, and indeed, 
perhaps it was : for I only said such things as occurred to me 
at the moment ; but I hope to hear something more recon- 
dite from Lucullus. 

Lucullus rejoined, I am not much troubled, Hortensius, at 
your expectation, although there is nothing so unfavourable 
for those who wish to give pleasure; but still, as I am not 
veiy anxious about how far T can prove to your satisfaction 
the arguments which I advance, I am the less disturbed. For 
the arguments which I am going to repeat are not my own, 
nor such that, if they are incorrect, I should ru't prefer being 
defeated to gaining the victory ; but, in truth, as the case 
stands at present, although the doctrines of my school were 
somewhat shaken in yesterday's discussion, still they do seem 
to me to be wholly true. I will therefore argue as Antiochus 
used to argue; for the subject is one with which I am well 
acquainted. For I used to listen to his lectures with a mind 
quite unengaged, and with great pleasure, and, moreover, he 
frequently discussed the same subject over again; so that you 
have some grounds for expecting more from me than you 
had from Hortensius a little while ago. When he had begun 
in this manner we prepared to listen with great attention. 

And he spoke thus: — When I was at Alexandria, as pro- 
quaestor, Antiochus was with me, and before my arrival, Herac- 
litus, of Tyre, a friend of Antiochus, had already settled in 
Alexandria, a man who had been for many years a pupil of 
Clitomachus and of Philo, and who had a great and deserved 
reputation in that school, which having been almost utterly 
discarded, is now coming again into fashion ; and I used often 
to hear A ntiochus arguing with him ; but they both c.ou- 


ducted their discussions with great gentleness, And just at 
that time those two books of Philo which were yesterday 
mentioned by Catulus had been brought to Alexandria, and 
had for the first time come under the notice of Antiochus ; 
and he, though naturally a man of the mildest disposition, 
(nor indeed was it possible for any one to be more peaceable 
than he was,) was nevertheless a little provoked. I was sur- 
prised, for I had never seen him so beft)re : but he, appealing 
to the recollection of Heraclitus, began to inquire of him 
whether he had seen those works of Philo, or v.hether he had 
heard the doctrines contained in them, either from Philo or 
from any one else of the Academic school 1 And he said that he 
had not ; however, he i-ecognised the style of Philo, noi-, indeed, 
could there be any doubt about it ; for some friends of mine, 
men of great learning, Publius and Caius Setilius, and Tctri- 
lius Rogus were present, who said that they heard Philo advance 
such operations at Rome ; and who said that they had written 
out those two books from his dictation. Then Antiochus 
repeated what Catulus mentioned yesterday, as having been 
said to Philo by his fathei', and many other things besides ; 
nor did he forbear even to publish a book against his own 
master, which is called " Sosus." 

I therefore, then, as I was much interested in hearing 
Heraclitus arguing against Antiochus, and Antiochus against 
the Academicians, paid gi'eat attention to Antiochus, in order 
to learn the whole matter from him. Accordingly, for many 
days, collecting together Heraclitus and several learned men, 
and among them Aristus, the brother of Antiochus, and also 
Ariston and Dion, men whom he considered only second to 
his brother in genius, we devoted a great deal of time to that 
single discussion. 

But we must pass over that part of it which was bestowed 
on refuting the doctrines of Philo ; for he is a less formidable 
adversary, who altogether denies that the Academicians ad- 
vance those arguments which were maintained yesterday. 
For although he is quite wi'ong as to the fact, still he is a 
less invincible adversary. Let us speak of Arcesilas and 

V. And having said this, he began again : — You appear to 
me, in the first place, (and he addressed me by name.) wlien 
you speak of the old natund philosophers, to do the same 


thing that seditious citizens are in the habit of doing wheu 
they bring forward some illustrious men of the ancieuts, who 
they say wei-e ft-iends of the people, in the hope of being 
themselves considered like them. They go back to Publius 
Valerius, who was consul the first year after the expulsion of 
the kings. They enumerate all the other men who have 
passed laws for the advantage of the people concerning ap- 
peals when they were consuls ; and then they come down to 
these better known men, Caius Flaminius, who, as tribune of 
the people, passed an Agrarian law some years before the 
second Punic war, against the will of the senate, and who 
was afterwards twice elected consul ; to Lucius Cassius and 
Quintus Pompeius ; they are also in the habit of classing 
Publius Aft'icanus in the same list ; and they assert that those 
two brothers of infinite wisdom and exceeding glory, Publiua 
Crassus and Publius Scsevola, were the advisers of Tiberius Grac- 
chus, in the matter of the laws which he proposed ; the one, 
indeed, as we see, openly ; the other, as we suspect, in a more 
concealed manner. They add also Caius Maiius; and with 
respeot to him they speak truly enough : then, having re- 
counted the names of so many illustrious men, they say that 
they are acting up to their principles. 

In like mannei", you, when you are seeking to overturn a 
well-established system of philosophy, in the same way as 
those men endeavoured to overturn the republic, bring for- 
ward the names of Empedocles, Anaxagoras, Democritus, Par- 
meuides, Xenophanes, and even Plato and Socrates. But 
Saturninus, (that I may name my own enemy rather than 
any one else,) had nothing in him resembling those ancient 
men; nor are the ungrounded accusations of Arcesilas to be 
compared to the modesty of Democritus. And yet those 
natural philosophers, though very seldom, when they have 
any very great difiiculty, make loud and violent outcries, as if 
under the influence of some great excitement, Empedocles, 
indeed, does so to such a degree, that he appears to me at 
times to be mad, crying out that all things are hidden, that 
we feel nothing, see nothing, and cannot find out the true 
character of anything whatever. But for the most part all 
those men appear to me to affirm some things i-ather too 
positively, and to profess that they know more than they 
really do know\ But if they then hesitated M'hile discussing 
new subjects, hke cliildren lately born, are we for that reasou 


to think that nothing has been explained in 6o many ages by 
the greatest genius and the most untiring industi-j ? May 
we not say that, after the estabHshment of some wise and 
important schools of philosophy, then, as Tiberius Gi-acchus 
arose in an excellent constitution, for the purpose of throwing 
everything into confusion, so Arcesilas rose up to overtuiui 
the established philosophy, and to shelter himself under the 
authority of those men who asserted that nothing could be 
known or perceived ; in which number we ought not to include 
Plato or Socrates ; the one because he left behind him a 
most perfect school, namely, the Peripatetics and Academics, 
differing in name, but agreeing in all substantial matters : and 
from whom the Stoics themselves differ in words rather than 
in opinions. But Socrates, who always disparaged himself in 
arguing, attributed more knowledge to those whom he wished 
to refute. So, as he was speaking differently from what he 
really thought, he was fond of using that kind of dissimu- 
lation which the Greeks call dpotveia ; which Fannius says 
Africanus also was in the habit of indulging in, and that that 
ought not be considered a bad habit in him, as it was a 
favourite practice of Socrates. 

VI. But, however, we will allow, if you like, that all those 
things were unknown to the ancients ; — was nothing effected 
then, by their being thoroughly investigated, after that Arce- 
silas, disparaging Zeno, (for that is supposed to have been his 
object,) as discovering nothing new, but only correcting pre- 
vious changes of names, while seeking to upset his definitions, 
had attempted to envelop the clearest possible matters in 
darkness ? And his system, which was at first not at all 
approved of, although it was illustrated both by acute genius 
and by an admirable wittiuess of language, was in the next 
generation adopted by no one but Lacydes; but subsequently 
it was perfected by Carneades, who was the fourth in succes- 
sion from Arcesilas ; for he was the pupil of Hegesinus, who 
had been the pupil of Evander, the disciple of Lacydes, and 
Lacydes himself kid been the pupil of Arcesilas ; but Carne- 
ades maintained it for a long time, for he lived ninety years; 
and those who had been his pupils had a very high reputa- 
tion, of whom Ciitomachus displayed the most industry, as 
the number of books which he composed testifies ; nor was 
there less brilliancy of genius in him tlian there was of elo- 
quence in Charmadaa, or of sweetness in Melanthius of Rhodes. 


But Metrodorus of Stratonice was thought to be the cue whj 
had the most thorough understanding of Carneades. And 
your friend Philo attended the lectures of CHtomachus for 
many years ; but as long as Philo was alive the Academy was 
never in want of a head. 

But the business that we now propose to ourselves, of argu- 
ing against the Academicians, appears to some philosophers, 
and those, too, men of no ordinary calibre, to be a thing that 
ought not to be done at all ; and they think, that there is no 
sense at all in, and no method of disputing with men who 
approve of nothing ; and they blame Antipater, the Stoic, 
who was veiy fond of doing so, and say that there is no need 
of laying down exact definitions of what knowledge is, or per- 
ception, or, if we want to render word for word, comprehension, 
which they call KaraXr^t/'is ; and they say that those who wish 
to persuade men that there is anything which cau be compre- 
hended and perceived, are acting ignorantly ; because there 
is nothing clearer than evapyeta, as the Greeks call it, and 
which we may call perspicuity, or evidentness if you like, — 
coining words, if you will permit us to do so, that this fellow 
(meaning me) may not think that he is the only person to 
whom such liberties are permitted. Still they thought that 
no discourse could be found which should be more intel- 
ligible than evidentness itself ; and they thought that there 
was no need of defining things which were so clear. 

But others declared that they would never be the first to 
speak in behalf of this evidentness : but they thought that a 
reply ought to be made to those arguments which were ad- 
vanced against it, to prevent any one being deceived by them. 
There are also many men who do not disapprove of the defi- 
nitions of the evident things themselves, and who tliink the 
subject one worthy of being inquired into, and the men 
worthy of being argued with. 

But Philo, while he raises some new questions, because he 
was scarcely able to withstand the things which were said 
against the obstinacy of the Academicians, sjx;aks falsely, 
without disguise, as he was reproached for doing by the elder 
Catulus ; and also, as Antiochus told him, falls into the very 
trap of which he was afraid. For as he asserted that there 
was nothing which could be comprehended, (for that is what 
we conceive to be meant by u.Ka.TdXrj7rTo<;,) if that was, as Zeno 
defined it, such a percei^tion, (for we have already spent time 


enough yesterday in beating out a woi-d for (fiavTaa-ia,^^ ihen a 
perception extracted and produced out of that from which 
it oi'iginated. sucli as could be produced from that from which 
it did not originate. And we say that this matter was most 
excellently defined by Zeno ; for how can anything be com- 
pi-ehended, so tliat you may feel absolutely sure that it has 
been perceived and known, wliich is of such a character that 
it is even possible that it may be false 1 Now when Philo 
upsets and denies this, he takes away also all distinction 
between what is known and unknown ; from which it follows 
that nothing can be comprehended ; and so, without intend- 
ing it, he is brought back to the point he least intended. 
Wherefore, all this discourse against the Academy is under- 
taken by us in order that we may retain that definition which 
Philo wished to overturn ; and unless we succeed in that, we 
grant that nothing can be perceived. 

VII. Let us begin then with the senses — the judgments of 
which are so clear and certain, that if an option were given 
to our nature, and if some god were to ask of it whether it is 
content with its own unimpaired iind uncoiTvxpted senses, or 
whether it desires something better, I do not see what more 
it could ask for. Nor while speaking on this topic need you 
wait while I reply to the illustration drawn from a bent oar, or 
the neck of a dove ; for I am not a man to say that every- 
thing which seems is exactly of that character of which it 
seems to be. Epicurus may deal with this idea, and with 
many others ; but in my opinion there is the very greatest 
truth in the senses, if they are in sound and healthy order, 
and if everything is removed which could impede or hinder 
them. Therefore we often wish the light to be changed, or 
the situation of those things which we are looking at ; and 
we either narrow or enlarge distances ; and we do many 
things until our sight causes us to feel confidence in our 
judgment. And the same thing takes place with respect to 
sounds, and smell, and taste, so that there is not one of us 
who, in each one of his senses, requires a more acute judgment 
as to each sort of thing. 

But when practice and skill are added, so that one's eyes 
are charmed by a picture, and one's ears by songs, who is 
there who can fail to see what great power there is in the 
Beuses? How many things do painters see in shadows and in 
projections wliich we do lut see] How many beauties which 


escape us in music are perceived by those who are practised in 
tliat kind of accomplishment 1 men who, at the first note of the 
flute-player, say, — That is the Antiope, or the Andromache, 
when we have not even a suspicion of it. There is no need fur 
me to speak of the faculties of taste or smell ; organs in which 
there is a degree of intelligence, however faulty it may be. 
Why should I speak of touch, and of that kind of touch which 
philosophers call the inner one, I mean the touch of pleasure 
or pain 1 in which alone the Cyrenaics think that there is anv 
judgment of the truth, because pleasure or pain are felt. Can 
any one then say that there is no difference between a man who 
is in pain and a man who is in pleasure 1 or can any one think 
*liat a man who entertains this opinion is not flagrantly mad } 
But such as those things are which we say are perceived bv 
the senses, such also those things which are said to be 
perceived, not by the senses themselves, but by the senses 
after a fashion ; as these tilings — that is white, this is sweet, 
that is tuneful, this is fragrant, that is rough. We have 
these ideas already comprehended by the mnid, not by the 
senses. Again, this is a house, that is a dog. Then the rest 
of the sei'ies follows, connecting the more important links; 
such as these, which embrace, as it were, the full comprehen- 
sion of things; — If he is a man, he is a mortal animal par- 
taking of reason : — from which class of ai-gumentsthc notions 
of things are impressed upon us, without which nothing can 
be understood, nor inquired into, nor discussed. But if those 
notions were false, (for yuu seemed to me to translate eVvotat 
notions,) if, I say, they were folse, or impressed, or perceptions 
of such a kind as not to be able to be distinguished from 
false ones ; then I should like to know how we were to use 
them ? and how we were to see what was consististfit witli 
each thing and what was inconsistent with it? Certainly no 
room at all is here left for memory, which of all qualities is 
the one that most completely contains, not only philosophy, 
but the whole practice of life, and all the arts. For what 
memory can there be of what is false 1 or what does any one 
remember which he does not comprehend and hold in his 
mind 1 And what art can there be except that which con« 
sists not of one, nor of two, but of many perceptions o. 
the mind 1 and if you take these away, how are you to dis- 
tinguish the artist from the ignorant man 1 For we must net 

AC.\D. ETCo D 


isiiy av: random that this man is an artist, and deny that that 
man is; but we must only do so when we see tiiat tlie one 
retains tlie things which he has perceived and comprehended, 
and that the other does not. And as some arts are of that 
kind that one can only see the fact in one's mind, others 
such that one can design and effect something, how can a 
geometrician perceive those things which have no existence, 
or which cannot be distinguished from what is false? or how 
jan he who plays on the lyre complete his rhythm, and finish 
verses 1 And the same will be the case with respect to simi- 
lar arts, whose whole work consists in actin*!; and in effecting 
something. For what is there that can be effected by art, 
unless the man who exercises the art has many perceptions 1 

VIII. And most especially does the knowledge of virtues 
confirm the assertion that many tilings can be perceived and 
comprehended. And in those things alone do we say that 
science exists ; which we consider to be not a mere compre- 
hension of things, but one that is firm and unchangeable ; and 
we consider it also to be wisdom, the art of living which, by 
itself, derives consistency from itself. But if that consistency 
has no perception or knowledge about it, then I ask whence 
it has originated and how? I ask also, why that good man 
who has made up his mind to endure every kind of torture, 
to be torn by intolerable pain, rather than to betray his duty 
3r his faith, has imposed on himself such bitter conditions, 
when he has nothing comprehended, perceived, known, or 
establislied, to lead him to think that he is bound to do so 1 
It cannot, then, by any possibility be the case that any one 
should estimate equity and good faith so highly as to shrink 
from no punishment for the sake of preserving them, unless 
he has assented to those facts which cannot be false. But as 
to wisdom itself, if it be ignorant of its own character, and if 
it does not know whether it be wisdom or not, in the first place, 
how is it to obtain its name of wisdom? Secondly, how will it 
venture to underUike any exploit, or to perform it with con- 
fidence, when it has nothing certain to follow 1 But when it 
doubts what is the chief and highest good, being ignorant to 
what everything is referred, how can it be wisdom? 

And that also is manifest, that it is necessary that there 
should be laid down in the first place a principle which wisdom 
may follow when it l.)egins to act ; and that principle must lie 


adapted to nature. For otherwise, the desii-e, (for thai is 
how I translate bp^rj,) by which we are impelled to act, and 
by which we desire what has been seen, cannot be set in 
motion. Biit that which sets anything in motion must first 
be seen and trusted, which cannot be the case if that which 
is seen cannot be distinguished from what is false. But how 
can the mind be moved to desire anything, if it cannot be 
perceived whether that which is seen is adapted to nature or 
inconsistent with it ? 

And again, if it does not occur to a man's mind what his 
duty is, he will actually never do anything, he will never be 
excited to any action, he will never be moved. But if he 
ever is about to do anything, then it is necessary that 
that which occurs to him must appear to him to be true. 
What ! But if those things are true, is the whole of reason, 
which is, as it were, the light and illumination of life, 
put an end to 1 And still will you persist in that wrong- 
headedness? For it is reason which has brought men the 
beginning of inquiry, which has perfected virtue, after reason 
herself had been confirmed by inquiry. But inquiry i.s tlie 
desire of knowledge; and the end of inquiry is discovery. 
But no one can discover what is fiilse ; nor can those things 
which continue uncertain be discovered. But when those things 
which have, as it were, been under a veil, are laid open, then thev 
are said to be discovei-ed; and so reason contains the beginning 
of inquiry, and the end of perceiving and comprehending. 
Tlierefore the conclusion of an argument, which in Greek is 
called ttTToSetft?, is thus defined : — Reason, which leads one from 
facts which are perceived, to that which was not perceived. 

IX. But if all things which are seen were of that sort that 
tliose men say they are, so that they either could possibly 
be ftilse, or that no discernment could distinguish whether 
they were false or not, then how could we say that any 
one had either formed any conclusion, or discovered any- 
'tlnng? Or what trust could be placed in an argument when 
brought to a conclusion? And what end will philosophy itself 
have, which is bound to proceed according to reascu] And 
what will become of wisdom 1 which ought not to doubt 
about its own character, nor about its decrees, which philoso- 
phers call Soy/Liara ; none of which can be betrayed without 
wickedness. For when e decree is betraved, the law of truth 



and riglit is botra/cd too. From which fault betrayals of 
frieudsliips and of republics often originate. It cannot, theie- 
fore be doubted, that no rule of wisdom can possibly be 
false ; and it ought not to be enough for the wise man tluit it 
is not false, but it ought also to be steady, durable, and last- 
ing; such as no arguments can shake. But none cau 
be, or appear such, according to the principle of those mtn 
who deny that those perceptions in which all rules originate 
ai-e in any respect different from false ones ; and from this 
assertion arose the demand which was repeated by Hor- 
tensius, that you would at least allow that the fact that 
nothing can be perceived has been perceived by the wise 
man. But when Antipater made the same demand, and 
argued that it was unavoidable that the man who affirmed 
that nothing could be perceived should nevertheless aumit 
that this one thing could be perceived, — namely, that nothing 
else could, — Carneadcs resisted him with great shrewdness. For 
he said that this admission was so far from being consistent 
with the doctrine asserted, that it was above all otliers incom- 
patible with it : for that a man who denied that there was 
anything which could be perceived excepted nothing. And 
so it foflowed of necessity, that even that very thing which 
was not excepted, could not be comprehended and perceived 
in any possible manner. 

Antiochus, on this topic, seems to press his antagonist more 
closely. For since the Academicians adopted that rule, (for 
you understand that I am translating by this word what they 
call 8oy/xa,) that nothing can be perceived, he urged that they 
ougiit not to waver in their rule as in other matters, especially 
as the whole of their philosophy consisted in it : for that the 
fixing of what is true and false, known and unknown, is the 
supreme law of all philosophy. And since tliey adopted this 
principle, and wished to teach what ought to be received by 
each individual, and what rejected, undoubtedly, said he, 
they ought to perceive this very thing from which tlie 
whole judgment of what is true and false arises. He urged, 
in short, "that there were these two principal objects in 
philosopliy, tlie knowledge of truth, and the attainment of 
the chief good; and that a man could not be wise who was 
ignoi-ant of either the beginning of knowledge, or of the end 
^( oi^sire, w) as not to know either where to start fi-om, or 


whither to seek to arrive at. But that to feel in doubt on these 
points, and not to have such confidence respecting them as to 
be unable to be shaken, is utterly incompatible with wisdom. 

In this manner, therefore, it was more fitting to demand of 
them that they should at least admit that this feet was per- 
ceived, namely, that nothing could be perceived. But enough, 
I imagine, has been said of the inconBistency of their whole 
opinion, if, indeed, you can say that a man who approves of 
nothing has any opinion at all. 

X. The next point for discussion is one which is copious 
enough, but rather abstruse ; for it touches in some points 
on natural philosophy, so that I am afraid that I may 
be giving the man who will reply to me too much liberty 
and licence. For what can I think that he will do about 
abstruse and obscure matters, who seeks to deprive us of all 
light 1 But one might argue with great refinement the ques- 
tion, — with how much artificial skill, as it were, nature has 
made, first of all, every animal ; secondly, man most especially ; 
— how gi-eat the power of the senses is ; in what manner things 
seen first affect us; then, how the desires, moved by these 
things, followed ; and, lastly, in what manner we direct our 
senses to the perception of things. For the mind itself, which 
is the source of the senses, and which itself is sense, has a 
natural power, which it directs towards those things by which 
it is moved. Therefore it seizes on other things which are 
seen in such a manner as to use them at once ; others it 
stores upj and from these memory arises: but all other 
things it arranges by similitudes, from which notions of 
things are engendered ; wliich the Greeks call, at one time 
ivvoiai, and at another irpoXii\pf.i<;. And when to this there is 
added reason and the conclusion of the argument, and a 
multitude of countless circumstances, then the perception of 
all those things is manifest, and the same reason, being made 
perfect by these steps, arrives at wisdom. 

As, therefore, the mind of man is admirably calculated for 
the science of things and the consistency of life, it embi-aces 
knowledge most especially. And it loves that KardXruJ/L^. 
(which we, as I have said, will call comprehension, translating 
the word literally.) for its own sake, (for there is nothing 
more sweet tlian the light of truth.) and also because of its 
use ; on which account also it uses the senses, and creates 


arts, wliich arc, as it were, second senses; and it streiii^tljene 
I)lnloso2)liy itself to sucli a degree that it creates virtue, to 
wiiich single thing all life is subordinate. Therefore, those 
men who affirm that nothing can be comprehended, take away 
by their assertion all these instruments or ornaments of life; 
nr rather, T should say, utterly overturn the whole of life, and 
"leprivethe animal itself of mind (anirno), so that it is difficult 
to speiCk of their rashness as the merits of the case require. 

Nor can I sufficiently make out what their ideas or inten- 
tions really are. For sometimes, when we address them with 
this argument, — that if the doctrines which we are upholding 
ui'e not true, then everything must be uncertain : they replv, 
— Well, wdiat is that to us '( is that our fault ? blame nature, 
who, as Democritus says, has buried truth deep in the bottom 
of the sea. 

But others defend themselves more elegantly, who com- 
plain also that we accuse them of calling everything uncer- 
tain ; and they endeavour to explain how much diflerence 
there is between what is uncertain and what cannot be per- 
ceived, and to make a distinction between them. Let us, 
then, now deal with those who draw this distinction, and let 
us abandon, as incurable and desperate, those who say that 
everything is as uncertain as whether the number of the .stars 
l)e odd or even. For they contend, (and I noticed that you 
were esjjecially moved by this,) that there is something pro- 
bable, and, as I may say, likely; and that they adopt that 
likelihood as a rule in steering their course of life, and in 
making ii:iquiries and conducting discussions. 

XI. But what rule can there be, if we have no notion what- 
ever of true or false, because it is impossible to distinguish 
one from the other 1 For, if we have such a notion, tlien 
there must be a difference between what is true and what is 
false, as there is between what is right and what is wrong. If 
there is no difference, then thei-e is no rule; nor can a ma'c 
to whom what is true and what is false appear under one 
common aspect, have any means of judging of, or any mark 
at all by which he can know the truth. For when they say, 
that they take away nothing but the idea of anything being 
able to appear in such a manner that it cannot possibly 
upijeiU" false in the same manner but that they admit every- 
thing else, they are acting childishly. For though they have 


taken away that by which everything is judged of, they deny 
that they take away the rest; just as if a person were to de- 
prive a man of his eyes, and then say that he has not taken 
away from him those things which can be seen. For just as 
those things are known by the eyes, so are the otlier things 
known by the perceptions ; but i)y a mark belonging pecu- 
Harly to truth, and not common to what is true and false. 

Wherefore, whether you bring forward a perception which 
is merely probable, or one which is at once probable and 
free from all hindrance, as Carneades contended, or anything 
else that you may follow, you will still have to return to that 
perception of which we are treating. But in it, if there be 
but one common charactei'istic of what is false and true, there 
will be no judgment possible, because nothing peculiar can be 
noted in one sign common to two things : but if there be no 
such community, then I have got what I want; for I am 
seeking what appeal's to me to be so true, that it cannot pos- 
sibly appear false. 

They are equally mistaken when, being convicted and over- 
powered by the force of truth, they wish to distinguish be- 
tween what is evident and what is perceived, and endeavour 
to prove that tliere is something evident, — being a truth im- 
pressed on the mind and intellect, — and yet that it cannot be 
perceived and comprehended. For how can you say distinctly 
that anything is white, when it may happen that that which is 
black may appear white 1 Or how are we to call those things 
evident, or to say that they are impressed faithfully on the 
mind, when it is uncertain whether it is really moved or only 
in an illusory manner 1 And so there is neither colour, nor 
body, nor truth, nor argument, nor sense, nor anything certain 
left us. And, owing to this, it frequently happens that, what- 
ever they say, they are asked by some people, — Do you, then, 
perceive that ? But they who put this question to them are 
laughed at by them ; for they do not press them hard enough 
so as to prove that no one can insist upon any point, or make 
any positive assertion, without some certain and peculiar 
mark to distinguish that thing which each individual sa^'s 
that he is persuaded of. 

What, then, is this probability of yours? For if that which 
occurs to every one, and which, at its first look, as it were, 
appears probable, is asserted positively, what can be mom 


trifling'? But if youv philosophers say that they, after a cer- 
tain degree of circumspection and careful consideration, adopt 
what they have seen as such, still they will not be able to 
escape from us. First of all, because credit is equally taken 
from all these things which are seen, but between which there 
is no difference ; secondly, when they say that it can happen 
to a wise man, that after he has done everything, and exer- 
cised the most diligent circumspection, there may still be 
something which appears probable, and which yet is very far re- 
moved from being true, — how can they then trust tiiemselves, 
ev^en if they (to use their own expression) approacii truth for 
the most part, or even if they come as near to it as possible ? 
For, in order to trust themselves, the distinctive mark of 
truth ought to be thoroughly known to them ; and if that be 
obscure or concealed, what truth is there which tliey can seem 
to themselves to arrive at? And what can be so absurd a 
thing to say as, — This indeed is a sign of that thing, or a proof 
of it, and on that account I follow it ; but it is possible that 
that which is indicated may either be false, or may actually 
have no existence at all 1 

XII. However, we have said enough aoout perception. For 
if any one wishes to invalidate what has been said, truth will 
easily defend itself, even if we are absent. 

Tiiese things, then, which have now been explained, being 
sufliciently understood, we will proceed to say a little on the 
subject of assent and appi'obation, which the Greeks call 
cTDyK-aTa^eo-i?. Not that the subject itself is not an extensive 
one, but because the foundations have been ali-eady laid a 
little while ago. For when we were explaining what power 
there was in the senses, this point was at the same time esta- 
Ijlished, that many things were comprehended and perceived 
by the senses, which is a thing which cannot take place 
without assent. Secondly, as this is the prii;cipal difference 
between an inanimate and an animated being, that the in- 
animate being does nothing, biit the animated one does 
something (for it is impossible even to imagine what kind of 
animal that can be which does notliing) — either sense must be 
taken from it, or else assent (wldch is wholly in our own 
power) must be given. But mind is in some degree denied to 
those beings whom they will not allow either to feel or tu 
tissent. For as it is inevitable that one scale of a balance 


mast be depressed when a weight is put in it, so the mind, 
too, must yield to what is evident; for just as it is impossible 
for any animal to forbear discerning what is manifestly suited 
to its nature (the Greeks call that otKelov), so it is equally 
impossible for it to withhold its assent to a manifest fact 
which is brought under its notice. 

Although, if those principles which we have been maintain- 
ing are true, there is no advantage whatever m discussing 
assent. For he who perceives anything, assents immediately. 
•But these inferences also follow, — that memory can have no 
existence without assent, no more can notions of things or 
arts. And what is most important of all is, that, although 
some things may be in our power, yet they will not be in the 
power of that man who assents to nothing. Where, then, is 
virtue, if nothing depends on ourselves 1 But it is above all 
things absurd that vices should be in the power of the agents, 
and that no one shonld do wrong except by deliberate con- 
sent to do so and yet that this should not be the case with 
virtue; all the consistency and firmness of which depends on 
the things to which it has assented, and which it has ap- 
proved. And altogether it is necessary that something should 
be perceived before we act, and before we assent to what is 
perceived ; wherefore, he who denies the existence of percep- 
tion or assent, puts an end to all action in life. 

XIII. Now let us examine the arguments which are com- 
monly advanced by this school in opposition to these princi- 
ples. But, first of all, you have it in your power to become ac- 
quainted with what I may call the foundations of their system. 
They then, first of all, compound a sort of art of those things 
which we call perceptions, and define their power and kir>ds ; 
and at the same time they explain what the character of that 
thing which can be perceived and comprehended isj in the 
very same words as the Stoics. In the next place, they 
explain those two principles, which contain, as it were, the 
whole of this question ; and which appear in such a manner 
that even others may appear in the same, nor is there any 
difference between them, so that it is impossible that some of 
them should be perceived, and that others should not be per 
ceivedj but that it makes no difference, not only if they are 
in every part of the same character, but even if they cannoi 
he distinfruished. 


And when these principles are laid down, then these men 
comprehend the wliole cause in the conclusion of one argu- 
ment. But this conclusion, thus compounded, runs in thi» 
way: " Of the tilings which are seen, some are true and some 
are false ; and what is false cannot he perceived, hut that 
which appears to be true is all of such a character that a 
thing of the same sort may seem to be also false. And as to 
those things which are perceived being of such a sort that 
tliere is no difference between them, it cannot possibly happen 
that some of them can be perceived, and that others cannot ; 
there is, then, nothing seen which can really be perceived." 

But of the axioms which they assume, in order to draw the 
conclusions which they desire, they think that two ought to be 
granted to them ; for no one objects to them. They are these : 
" That those perceptions which are false, cannot really be per- 
ceived ;" and the second is — " Of those perceptions between 
which there is no difference, it is impossible that some shoixld 
be of such a character that they can be perceived, and otliers 
of such a character that they cannot." 

But their other propositions they defend by numerous and 
varied arguments, and they likewise are two in number. One 
is — " Of those things wliich appe;u', some are true and others 
false ;" the other is — " Every perception which originates in 
the trtith, is of such a character as it might be of, though 
originating in what is false." And these two propositions 
they do not pass by, but they expand in such a manner as to 
show no slight degree of care and diligence. For they divide 
them into parts, and those also large parts ; firet of all into 
the senses, then into those things which are derived from the 
senses, and from universal custom, the authority of which 
they wish to invalidate. Then they come to the point of 
laying it down that nothing can be perceived even by I'cason 
and conjecture. And these universal propositions they cut up 
into more minute parts. For as in our yesterday's discussion 
you saw that they acted with respect to the senses, so do 
they also act with respect to everything else. And in each 
separate thing which they divide into the most minute parts, 
they wish to make out that all these true perceptions have 
often false ones added to them, which are in no respect dif- 
ferent from the true ones; and that, as they are of such a 
character, nothing can be comprehended. 


XIV. Now all this subtlety I consider 'iideed thoroughly 
i>.orthy of phdosophy, but still wholh" unconnected with the 
case which they advocate who argue thus. For definitions, 
and divisions, and a discourse which employs these orna- 
ments, and also similarities and dissimilarities, and the subtle 
and fine-drawn distinctions between them, belong to men 
who are confident that those arguments which they are up- 
holding are true, and firm, and certain ; and not to men who 
assert loudly that those things are no more true than false. 
For what would they do if, after they hnd defined anything, 
some one were to ask them whether that definition could 
be transferred to something else? If they said it could, 
then what reason could they give why it should be a true 
definition 1 If they said no, — then it miist be confessed, since 
that definition of what is true cannot be transferred to what 
is false, that that which is explained by that definition can be 
perceived; which is the last thing they mean. 

The same thing may be said on every article of the divi- 
sion. For if they say that they see clearly the things about 
which they are arguing, asd they cannot be hindered by any 
similarity of appearance, then they will confess that they are 
able to comprehend those things. But if they affirm that true 
perceptions cannot be distinguished from false ones, how can 
they go any further? For the same objections will be made 
to them which have been m.ade already; for an argument 
cannot be concluded, unless the premises which are taken to 
deduce the conclusion from are so established that nothing of 
the same kind can be false. 

Therefore, if reason, relying on things comprehended and 
perceived, and advancing in reliance on them, establishes the 
point that nothing can be comprehended, what can be found 
which can be more inconsistent with itself? And as the very 
nature of an accurate discourse professes that it will develop 
something which is not apparent, and that, in order the more 
easily to succeed in its object, it will employ the senses and 
those things which are evident, what sort of discourse is 
that which is uttered by those men who insist upon it that 
everything has not so much an existence as a mere appear- 
ance ? 

But they are convicted most of all when they assume, as 
consistent with each other, these two propositions which are 


BO utterl}' incompatible: first of all,— That there are some 
false percei)tions ; — and in asserting this they declare also tliaf 
thei'e are some which are true : and secondly, they add at the 
same time, — That there is no difference between time percep- 
tions and false ones. But you assumed the first proposition 
as if there were some difference ; and so the latter proposition 
is inconsistent with the former, and the former with the 

But let us proceed further, and act so as in no respect to 
seem to be flattering ourselves ; and let us follow up wiiat is 
said by them, in such a manner as to allow nothing to he 
passed over. 

In the first place, then, that evidentness which we have 
mentioned has sufficiently great power of itself to point out 
to us the things which are just as they are. But still, in order 
that we may remain with firmness and constancy in our trust 
in what is evident, we have need of a greater degree of either 
skill or diligence, in order not, Ijy some sort of juggling or 
trick, to be driven away from those things which are clear 
of themselves. For Epicurus, who wislied to remedy those 
errors, which seem to perple.K one's knowledge of the truth, 
and who said that it was the duty of a wise man to separate 
opinion from evident knowledge, did no good at all ; for he 
did not in the least remove the errors of opinion itself 

XV. Wherefore, as thei'e are two causes which oppose what 
is manifest and evident, it is necessary also to provide oneself 
with an equal number of aids. For this is the first obstacle, 
that men do not sufficiently exert and fix their minds upon 
those things which are evident, so as to be able to understand 
how great the light is with which they are surrounded. The 
S3Cond is, that some men, being deluded and deceived by fal- 
lacious and captious interrogatories, when they cannot clear 
them up, abandon the truth. It is right, therefore, for us to 
have those answers ready which may be given in defence of 
the evidentness of a thing, — and we have already spoken of 
them, — and to be armed, in order to be able to encounter the 
questions of those people, and to scatter their captions objec- 
tions to the winds : and this is what I propose to do next. 

I will, therefore, explain their arguments one by one; smce 
even they themselves ai-e in the habit of speaking in a suf- 
ficientlv lucid manner. 


lu the first place, they endeavour to show that many thiuga 
can appear to exist, which in reaUty have no existence; when 
minds are moved to no piu-pose by things which do not exist, 
ni the same manner as by things that do. For when you say 
f^say they) that some visions are sent by God, as those, for 
instance, which are seen during sleep, and those also which 
are revealed by oracles, and auspices, and the entrails of vic- 
tims, (for they say that the Stoics, against whom they are 
arguing, admit all these things,) they ask how God can make 
tliose thmgs probable which appear to be false ; and how it 
is that He cannot make those appear so which plainly come 
as near as possible to truth] Or if He can likewise make 
those appear probable, why He cannot make the others appear 
so too, which are only with great ditficulty distinguished from 
them? And if He can make these appear so, then why He 
cannot also make those things appear so which are absolutely 
different in no respect whatever i 

In the next place, since the miud is moved b}- itself, — as those 
things which we picture to ourselves in thought, and those 
which pi'csent themselves to the sight of madmen or sleeping 
men declare, — is it not, say they, probable that the mind is also 
moved in such a manner, that not only it does not distinguish 
between the perceptions, as to whether they be true or false, 
Mut that there really is no diflerence between them 1 As, for 
instance, if any men of their own accoid trembled and grew 
pale, on account of some agitation of mind, or because some 
terrible object came upon tliem from witiiout, there would be 
no means of distinguishing one trembling and paleness fi'om 
tile other, nor indeed would there be any ditierence between 
the external and internal alarm which caused them. 

Lastly, if no perceptions are probable which are false, then 
we must seek for other jn-inciples ; but if they ai-e probable, 
then why may not one say the same of such as are not easily 
distinguislied from one another ? Why not also of such as 
have actually no difference at all between them ? Especially 
when you yourselves say that the wise man when enraged 
withholds himself from all assent, because there is no distinc- 
tion between his perceptions which is visible to him. 

XVI. Now on all tliese empty perceptions Antic chu8 
brought forward a great many arguments, and one whole day 
was occupied in tne aiscussion of this subject. But I do not 


tl»ink that I ought to adopt the same course, but merely Ui 
give the lieails of what he said. 

And iu tlie first pUxce, they are blameable in tliis, that they 
use a most captious kind of interrogation. And tiie system 
of adding or taking away, step Ijy step, minute items from a 
proposition, is a kind of argument very little to be approved 
of in philosophy. They call it sorites,' when they make up a 
heap by adding grain after grain ; a very vicious and captious 
style of arguing. For you mount up iu this way : — If a 
vision is brought by God before a man asleep of such a nature 
as to be probable (probabile), why may not one also be brought 
of such a nature as to be very like truth {yerisimlle) ? If so, 
then why may not one be brought which cau hardly be dis- 
tinguished from truth ? If so, then why may there uot be 
one which cannot be distinguished at all 1 If so, then why 
may there not be such that there is actually no difference 
between them 1 — If you come to this point because I have 
granted you all the previous propositions, it will be my fault ; 
but if you advance thither of your own accord, it will be 
yours. For who will grant to you either that God can do 
everything, or that even if He could He would act in that 
manner 1: And how do you assume that if one thing may be 
like another, it follows that it may also be difficult to distin- 
guish between them ? And then, that one cannot distiugui-sh 
between them at all ? And lastly, that they are identical ? 
So that if wolves are like dogs, you will come at last to 
asserting that they are the same animals. And indeed there 
are some things not honourable, which ai'e like things that 
are honourable; some things not good, like those that are 
good; some things proceeding on no system, like others W'liich 
are regulated by system. Why then do we hesitate to affirm 
that there is no difference between all these things ? Do we 
not even see that they are inconsistent 1 For there \> 
nothing that can be transferred from its own genus U 
another. But if such a conclusion did follow, as that there 
was no difference between perceptions of different genera, but 
that some could be found which were both in their own gemj) 
and in one which did not belong to them, how could that 1(S 
possible ] 

There is then one means of gettuig rid A all unreal per. 
' From (r»p(is,s heap. 


ceptions, whether they be formed in the ideas, which wy 
gi'ant to be usually the case, or whether they be owing t^- 
idleness, or to wine, or to madness. For we say that clear- 
ness, which we ought to hold with the greatest tenacity, ia 
absent from all visions of that kind. For who is tliere who, 
when he imagines something and pictures it to himself in hiw 
thoughts, does not, as soon as he has stirred up himself, and 
recovered himself, feel how much difference there is between 
what is evident and what is unreal 1 The case of dreams is 
the same. Do you think that Ennius, when he had been 
walking in his garden with Sergius Galba, his neighbour, said 
to himself, — I have seemed to myself to be v/alking with 
Galba 1 But when he had a dream, he related it in this way,^ 

The poet Homer seem'd to stand before me. 
And again in his Epicharmus he says — 

For I seem'd to be dreaming, and laid in the tomb. 
Therefore, as soon as we are awakened, we despise those things 
which we have seen, and do not regard them as we do the 
things which we have done in the forum. 

XVII. But while these visions ai'e being beheld, they 
assume the same appearance as those things which we see 
while awake. There is a good deal of real difference between 
them ; but we may pass over that. For what w^e assert is, 
that there is not the same power or soundness in people when 
asleep that thei-e is in them while waking, either in intellect 
or in sensation. "What even drunken men do, they do not do 
with the same deliberate approbation as sober men. They 
doubt, they hesitate, they ciieck themselves at times, and 
give but a feeble assent to what they see or agree too. And 
when they have slept off their drunkenness, then they under- 
stand how unreal their perceptions were. And the same 
thing is the case with madmen ; that when their is 
beginning, they both feel and say that something appears to 
tliem to exist that has no i-eal existence. And when theu' 
frenzy abates, they feel and speak like Alcmceou ; — 

But now my heart does not agree 
"With that which with my eyes I see. 

But even in madness the wise man puts restraint upon him- 
self, so far as not to approve of what is false as if it were 
true. And he docs so often at other times, if there is by 


cliaucfc; any heaviness or slowness in his senses, or if those 
tilings wliich are seen by him are ratiier ol)scure, or if lie is 
prevented from thoroughly examining them by the shortness of 
the time. Although the whole of this fact, that the wise man 
sometimes suspends his assent, makes against you. For if 
there were no difference between his perceptions, he would 
either suspend it always or never. 

But from the whole character of this discussion we may 
see the worthless nature of the argument of those men who 
wish to throw everything into confusion. We want judgment, 
marked with gravity, consistency, firmness, and wisdom : and 
we use the examples of men dreaming, mad, or drunk. I press 
tins point, that in all this discussion we are speaking with 
great inconsistency. For we should not bring forward men 
sunk in wine or sleep, or deprived of sense, in such an absurd 
manner as at one time to say there is a difference between 
the perceptions of men awake and sober and sensible, and 
those of men in a different condition, and at other times that 
there was no difference at all. 

They do not even perceive that by this kind of argument 
they are making out everything to be unoertain, which the}- 
do not wish to do. I call that uncertain which the Greeks 
call u8r]Xov. For if the fact be that there is no difference 
between the appearance that a thing presents to a madman 
and to a person in his senses, then who can feel quite sure of 
his own sanity? And to wish to produce such an effect as 
that is a proof of no ordinary madness. But they follow uj» 
in a childish manner the likenesses of twins, or of impressions 
of rings. For wiio of us denies that there are such thing's as 
likenesses, when they are visible in numbers of things 1 But 
if the fact of many things being like many other things is 
sufficient to take away knowledge, why are you not content 
with that, especially as we admit it? And why do you rather 
insist upon that assei'i>.ion wdiich the nature of things will not 
suffer, that everything is not in its own kind of that ciiaracter 
of which it really is? and that there is a conformity with- 
out any difference whatever ir '.wo or more things ; so that 
eggs are entirely like eggs, and bees like bees 1 What then 
are you contending for? or what do you seek to gain by 
talking about twins 1 For it is granted that they are alike; 
ftud you might be content with that. But you try to make 


them out to be actually the same, and not merely alike; and 
that IS quite impossible. 

Then you have recourse to those natural philosophers who 
are so greatly ridiculed in the Academy, but whom you wiil 
not even now desist from quoting. And you tell us that 
Democritus says that there are a countless number of worlds, 
and that there are some which are not only so like one 
another, but so completely and absolutely equal in every 
point, that there is no difference whatever between them, and 
that they are quite innumerable ; and so also are men. Then 
you require that, if the world be so entirely equal to another 
world that there is absolutely not the slightest difference 
between them, we should grant to you that in this world of 
ours also there must be something exactly equal to something, 
else, so that there is no difference whatever or distinction 
between them. For why, you will say, since there not only 
can be, but actually are innumerable Quinti Lutatii Catuli 
formed out of those atoms, from which Democritus affirms 
that everything is produced, in all the other worlds, which 
are likewise innumerable, — why may not there be a second 
Catulus formed in this identical world of ours, since it is of 
such a size as we see it ? 

XVIII. First of all I reply, that you are bringing me to 
the arguments of Democritus, with whom I do not agree. 
And 1 will the more readily refute them, on account of that 
doctrine which is laid down very clearly by the more refined 
natui-al philosophers, that everything h;is its own separate 
property. For grant that those ancient Sennlii who were 
twins were as mvich alike as they are said to have been, do 
you think that that would have made them the same 1 They 
were not distinguished from one another out of doors, but 
they were at home. They were not distinguished from one 
another by strangers, but they were by their own family. Do 
we not see that this is frequently the case, that those people 
whom we should never have expected to be able to know from 
one another, we do by practice distinguish so easily that they 
do not appear to be even in the least alike ] 

Here, hov ever, you may struggle ; I will not oppose you. 
Moreover, I will grant that that very wise man who is the 
subject of all this discussion, when things like one another 
come under his notjoe, in which he has not remarked anj' 



special character, will withhold his assent, and will never 
agree to any j^erception whicli is not of such a character as a 
false percepticni can never assume. But with respect to ail 
other tilings he has a certain art by which he can distinguish 
what is true from what is false; and with respect to those 
similitudes he must apply the test of experience. As a mother 
distinguishes between twins by the constant practice of her 
eyes, so you too will distinguish when you have become 
accustomed to it. Do you not see that it has become a per- 
fect proverb that one egg is like another 1 and yet we are 
told that at Delos (when it was a flourishing island) there 
were many people who used to keep large numbers of liens 
for the sake of profit ; and that they, when they had looked 
upon an egg, could tell which hen had laid it. Nor does that 
fact make against our argument ; for it is sufficient for us to 
be able to distinguish between the eggs. For it is impossible 
for one to assent to tl>e proposition that this thing is that 
thing more, than by admitting that thei-e is actually no dif- 
ference at all between the two. For I have laid it down as a 
rule, to consider all perceptions true which are of such a 
character as those which are false cannot be. And from this 
I may not depart one finger's breadth, as they say, lest I should 
throw everything into confusion. For not only the knowledge 
of wdiat is true and Mae, but their whole nature too, will be 
destroyed if there is no difference between one and the other. 
And that must be very absurd which you sometimes are in 
the habit of saying, when perceptions are imprinted on the 
mind, that what you say is, not that there is no difference 
between the impressions, but only that there is none 
between certain api^earances and forms which they assume. 
As if perceptions v/ere not judged of by their appearance, 
wliich can deserve or obtain no credit if the mark by which 
we are to distinguish truth from falsehood be taken away. 

But that is a monstrous absurdity of yours, when you say 
tliat you follow what is probable when you are not hindered 
by anything from doing so. In the first place, how can you 
avoid being hindered, when what is false does not difter from 
what is true ? Secondly, what judgment can be formed of 
what is true, when what is true is undistinguishable from 
what is false 1 From these facts there springs unavoidably 
i-coxrj, that is tu say, a suspension of assent : for whicii 


Arcesilas is more consistent, if at least the opinions ■« hich 
some people entertain of Carneades are correct. For il 
notliing can be perceived, as they both agree in thinking, 
tlien all assent is taken away. For what is so childish as tc 
talk of approving of what is not known 1 But even yesterday; 
we heard that Carneades was in the habit, at times, of descend- 
ing to say that a wise man would be guided by opinion, that 
IS 10 say, would do wrong. To me, indeed, it is not so certain 
that there is anything which can be comprehended, a ques- 
tion which I have now spent too much time in discussing, as 
that a wise man is never guided by opinion, that is to say, 
never assents to anything which is either false or unknown. 

There remains this other statement of theirs, that for the 
sake of discovering the truth, one ought to speak against 
every side, and in favour of every side. I wish then to see 
what they have discovered. We are not in the habit, says he, 
of showing that. What then is the object of all this mystery ? 
or why do you conceal your opinion as something discredit- 
able 1 In order, says he, that those who hear us may be 
influenced by reason rather than led by authority. What 
if they are influenced by both 1 would there be any harm in 
that 1 However, they do not conceal one of their theories, 
namely, that there is nothing which can be conceived. Is 
authority no hindi-ance to entertaining this opinion 1 It seems 
to me to be a great one. For who would ever have embraced 
so openly and undisguisedly such pei'verse and fiilse prin- 
ciples, if there had not been such great richness of ideas and 
power of eloquence in Arcesilas, and, in a still greater degree, 
in Carneades 1 

XIX. These are nearly tlie argvunents which Antiochus 
used to urge at Alexandria, and many years afterwards, with 
much more positiveness too, in Syria, when he was there with 
me, a little before he died. But, as my case is now established, 
I will not hesitate to warn you, as you are my dearest friend, 
(he was addressing me,) and one a good deal vounger than 

Will you, then, after having extolled philosophy with such 
panegyrics, and provoked our friend Hortensius, who dis- 
agrees with us, now follow that philosophy which confounds 
v;hat is true with what is false, deprives us of alb judg- 
ment, strips us of the power of approval, and robs us of all 



3ur senses ? Even the Cimmerians, to whom some god, or 
nature, or the fouhiess of the country that they inhabited, 
had denied the hght of the sun, had still some fires which 
they were permitted to avail themselves of as if they were 
light. But those men whom you approve of, after having 
enveloped us in such darkness, have not left us a single spark 
to enable us to look around by. And if we follow them, we 
become bound with such chains that we cannot move. For 
when assent is taken away, they take away at the same time 
aJl motion of our minds, and all our power of action ; which 
not only cannot be done rightly, but -which cannot possibly 
be done at all. Beware, also, lest you become the only pei-son 
who is not allowed to uphold that opinion. Will you, when 
you have explained the most secret mattei-s and brought them 
to light, and said on your oath that you have discovered them, 
(which, indeed, I could swear to also, since I learnt them 
from you,) — will you, I say, assert that there is nothing which 
can be known, comprehended, or perceived 1 Beware, I en- 
treat you, lest the authority of those most beautiful actions 
be diminished by your own conduct. 

And having said this he stopped. But Hortensius, ad- 
miring all he said very greatly, (so much, indeed, that all 
tlie time that Lucullus was speaking he kept lifting up his 
liands ; and it was no wonder, for I do not believe that an 
argument had ever been conducted against the Academy with 
more acuteness,) began to exhort me, either jestingly or seri- 
ously, (for that was a point that T was not quite sure about,) to 
abandon my opinions. Then, said Catulus, if tlie discom-se of 
Lucullus has had such influence over you, — and it has been a 
wonderful exhibition of memory, accuracy, and ingenuity, — I 
have nothing to say ; nor do I think it my duty to try and 
deter you from changing opinion if you choose. But I should 
not think it well for you to be influenced merely by his 
authority. For he was all but warning you, said he, jestingly, 
to take care that no worthless tribune of the people, of whom 
you know what a number there will always be, seize upon 
you, and ask of you ni the public assembly how you are cou- 
sistent with yourself, when at one time you assei't that nothing 
certain can be discovered, and at another time afiirm that you 
yourself have discovered sometlnng. I entreat you, do not 
let him terrify you. But i would rather have you disagiet 


with him on the merits of the case itself. But if you give in 
to him, I shall not be gi-eatly surprised ; for I recollect that 
Autiochus himself, after he had entertained such opinions for 
many years, abandoned them as soon as he thought it desir- 
able. When Catulus had said this, they all began to fix their 
eyes on me. 

XX. Then I, being no less agitated than I usually am 
when pleading important causes, began to speak something 
after this fashion : — 

The discourse of Lucullus, Catulus, on the matter itself, 
moved me a good deal, being the discourse of a learned and 
ingenious and quick-witted man, and of one who passes 
over nothing which can be said for his side ; but still I am 
not afraid but that I may be able to answer him. But no 
doubt such authority as his would have influenced me a good 
deal, if you had not opposed your own to it, which is of equal 
weight. I will endeavour, therefore, to reply to him after I 
have said a few words in defence of my own reputation, as 
it were. 

If it is by any desire of display, or any zeal for contentious 
disputes, that I have been chiefly led to rank myself as an 
adherent of this school of philosophy, I should think not only 
my folly, but also my disposition and nature deserving of 
severe censure ; for if obstinacy is found fault with in the 
most trifling mattei^s, and if also calumny is repressed, should 
I choose to contend with others in a quaiTelsome manner 
about the general condition and conduct of my whole life, or 
to deceive others and also my own self ? Therefox'e, if I did 
not think it foolish in such a discussion to do what, when one 
is discussing affairs of state, is sometimes done, I would swear 
by Jupiter and my household gods, that I am inflamed witli 
a desire of discovering the truth, and that I do truly feel 
what I say. For hi.w can I avoid wishing to discover the 
truth, when I rejoice if I have discovered anything resembling 
the truth? But although I consider to see the truth a most 
beautiful thing, so also do I think it a most disgraceful one to 
approve of what is false as if it were true. Not, indeed, that 
I am myself a man who never approve of anything f\dse, 
who never give assent to any such thing, and am never 
guided by opinion ; but we are speaking of a wise man. 
But I myself am very apt to adopt opinions, for I am not a 


wise man, and I direct my thoughts, steericg not to that little 
( ,' ynosura, 

The nightly star, which shining not in vain, 

Guides the I'hoeniciau sailor o'er the main, 
as Aratus says; — and those mariners steer in a more direct 
course because they keep looking at the constellation, 

Which in its inner course and orbit brief 

Surely revolves ; — 

Itut looking rather towards Helice, and the bright north star, 
tliat is to say, to these reasons of a more expansive kind, not 
^)f»]ished away to a point; and thei-efore I roam and wander 
al)()ut in a freer coiu'se. However, the question, as I said just 
now, is not about myself, but about a wise man. For when 
these perceptions have made a violent impi-ession on the 
intellect and senses, I admit them, and sometimes I even 
assent to tiiem, but still I do not perceive them : for I do 
not think that anything can be perceived. I am not a wise 
man, tlierefore I submit to perceptions and cannot resist 
them : but Arcesilas, being on this point in agreement with 
Zeno, thinks that this is the most important part of the 
power of a wise man, that he can guard against being en- 
tangled, and provide against being deceived. For there is 
nothing more incompatible with the idea wiiich we have of 
the gravity of a wise man than error, levity, and temerity. 
Why, then, need I speak of the firmness of a wise man 1 
whom even you too, Lucullus, admit to be never guided by 
mere opinion. And since this is sanctioned by you, (if I am 
dealing irregularly with you at this moment, I will soon 
return to the proper order of your arguments,) just consider 
what force this first conclusion has. 

XXI. If the wise man ever assents to anything, he will like- 
wise sometimes form opinions : but he never will form 
opinions : therefore he will never assent to anytliing. Tliis 
Conclusion was approved of by Arcesilas, for it confirmed botli 
Ids first and second proposition. But Carneades sometimes 
granted that minor premiss, that the wise man did at times 
assent : then it followed that he also was at times guided by 
opinion ; which you will not allow ; and you are right, as it 
seems to me : but the first proposition, that the wise man. if 
ne expresses assent, must also l)e guided by opinion, is denied 
by the Stoics and their follower on this point, Antiochus 


For they say that they can distinguish what is false from 
what is true, and what cannot be perceived from what can. 
But, in the first place, even if anything can be perceived, still 
the very custom of expressing assent appears to i;s to be peril- 
ous and unsm-e. Wherefore, as it is plain that is so faulty a 
proceeding, to assent to anything that is either false or un- 
known, all assent must rather be removed, lest it should rush 
on into difficulties if it proceeds rashly. For what is false is 
so much akin to what is true, and tlie things which cannot 
be perceived to those which can, (if, indeed, there are any 
Buch, for we shall examine that point presently,) that a wise 
man ought not to trust himself in such a hazardous position. 

But if I assume that there is actually nothing which can 
be perceived, and if I also take what you gi-ant me, that a 
wise man is never guided by opinion, tlien the consequence 
will be that the wise man will restrain all assent on his part ; 
so that you must consider whether you would rather have it 
so, or let the wise man sometimes form opinions. You do 
not approve of either, you will say. Let us, then, endeavour 
to prove that nothing can be perceived ; for that is what the 
whole controversy turns upon. 

XXII. But first I must say a few words to Antiochus ; 
who under Philo learnt this very doctrine which I am novr 
defending, for such a length of time, that it is certain that no 
one was ever longer studying it ; and who wrote on these 
subjects with the greatest acuteness, and who yet attacked it 
in his old age with no less energy than he had defended it in 
his youth. Although therefore he may have been a shrewd 
arguer, as indeed he was, still his authority is diminished by 
his inconsistency. For what day, I should like to know, will 
ever dawn, which shall reveal to him that distinctive charac- 
teristic of what is true and what is false, of which for so many 
years he denied the existence 1 Has he devised anything 
new 1 He says the same that the Stoics say. Does he repent 
of having held such an opinion ? Why did he not cross over 
to some other school, and especially to the Stoics'? for this 
disagreement with the Academy was peculiarly theirs. What? 
did he repent of AInesarchus or Dardanus, who at that time 
where the chiefs of the Stoics at Athens 1 He never deserted 
Philo till after the time when he himself began to have 


But from whence was the Old Academy on a sudden re- 
culled ? He appears to have wished to preserve the dignity of 
the name, after he had given up the reality ; which however 
avme people said, that he did from a view to his own glory, 
and that he even hoped that those who followed him might 
ha called Antiochians. But to me it seems, that lie could not 
stand that concourse of all the philosophers. In trutli, there 
are among them all, some commci principles on the other 
2)oints; but this doctrine is peculiar to the Academicians, and 
not one of the other philosophers approves of it. Therefore, 
he quitted it ; and, like those men who, where the new shops 
stand, cannot bear the sun, so he, when he was hot, took 
refuge under the shade of the Old Academicians, as those men 
do under the shade of the old shops near the pillar of Msenius. 
There was also an argument which he was in the habit of em- 
ploying, when he used to maintain that nothing could be 
perceived; namely, asking whether Dionysius of Heraclea had 
comprehended the doctrine which he had espoused for many 
years, because he was guided by that certain characteristic, 
and whether he believed the doctrine of his master Zeno. that 
whatever was honourable was the only good ; or, whether he 
adopted the assertion which he defended subsequently, that 
the name of honourableness is a mere phantom, and that 
pleasure is the chief good : for from this change of opinion 
• 111 his part he wished to prove, that nothing can be so stamped 
1)11 our minds by the truth, that it cannot also be impressed 
on them in the same manner by falsehood ; and so he took 
care that others should derive from his own conduct the same 
argument which he himself had derived from Dionysius. 

XXIII. But we will argue this point more at length an- 
other time ; at present we will turn what has been said, 
Lucidlus, to you. And in the firet place, let us examine the 
assertion which you made at the beginning, and see what sort 
of assertion it is ; namely, that we spoke of the ancient phi- 
losophers in a manner similar to that in which seditious men 
were in the habit of speaking of illustrious men, who were 
however friends of the people. These men do not indeed pur- 
sue good objects, but stiU wish to be considered to resemble 
good men ; but we say that we hold those opinions, which 
you yourselves confess to have been entertained by the most 
illustrious philosophers Auaiagoi-as said, that snow was 


black : would you endure me if I were to say the same ? Yon 
would not bear even for me to express a doubt on tlie sub- 
ject. But who is this uian I is he a Sophist ? for by that 
name were those men called, who used to philosophize for the 
sake of display or of profit. The glory of the gravity and 
genius of that man was great. Why should I speak of 
Democritus 1 Who is there whom we can compare with him 
for the greatness, not merely of his genius, but also of his 
spirit 1 a man who dared to begin thus : " I am going to 
speak of everything." He excepts nothing, so as not to 
profess a knowledge of it. For indeed, what could there 
possibly be beyond everything 1 Who can avoid placing 
this philosopher before Cleanthes, or Chrysippus, or all the 
rest of his successors ? men who, when compared with him, 
appear to me to be in the fifth clas's. 

But he does not say this, which we, who do not deny that 
there is some tiiith, declare cannot be perceived : he abso- 
lutely denies that there is any truth. He says that the 
senses are not merely dim, but utterly dark ; for that is what 
Metrodorus of Chios, who was one of his greatest admirers, 
says of them, at the beginning of his book on Nature. " I 
deny," says he, " that we know whether we know anything oi 
whether we know nothing ; I say that we do not even know 
what is ignorance and knowledge ; and that we have no 
knowledge wliether anything exists or whether nothing does." 

Empedocles appears to you to be mad ; but to me he seema 
to utter words very worthy of the subjects of which he speaks. 
Does he then blind us, or deprive us of our senses, if he 
thinks that there is but little power in them to judge of those 
things which are brought under their notice ? Parmenides 
and Xenophanes blame, as if they were angiy with them, 
though in no very poetical verses, the arrogance of those 
people who, though nothing can be known, venture to say 
that they know something. And you said that Socrates 
and Plato were distinct from these men. Why so? Are 
there any men of whom we can speak more certainly ? I in- 
deed seem to myself to have lived with these men ; so many 
of their discom-ses have been reported, from which cue 
cannot possibly doubt that Socrates thought that nothing 
could be known. He excepted one thing only, asserting that 
he did know tliat he knew nothing ; but he made no other 


exception. What shall I say of Plato? who certainly would 
never have followed up these doctrines in so many books if he> 
had not approved of them ; for there waa no object in going 
on with the irony of the other, especially when it was so 

XXIV. Do I not seem to you, not, like Saturninus, to be 
content with naming illustrious men, but also sometimes 
even to imitate them, though never unless they are really 
eminent and noble 1 And I might have opposed to you men 
who ai'e annoying to you, but yet disputants of great ac- 
curacy j Stilpo, Diodorus, and Alexinus : men who indulged 
m far-fetched and pointed sophisms ; for that was the name 
given usually to fallacious conclusions. But why need I enu- 
merate them, when I have Chrysippus, who is considered to 
be the great support of the portico of the Stoics 1 How many 
of the arguments against the senses, how many against every- 
thing which is approved by ordinary practice, did he not 
refute ! It is true that I do not think very much of his 
refutations ; but still, let us grant that he did refute them. 
Certainly he would never have collected so many arguments 
to deceive us wdth their excessive probability, unless he saw- 
that it was not easily possible to resist them. 

Wliat do you think of the Cyrenaic School 1 philosophers 
far from contemptible, who affirm that there is nothing which 
can be perceived externally ; and that they perceive those 
thinas alone which they feel by their inmost touch, such as 
pain, or pleasure. And that they do not know what colour 
anything is of, or what sound it utters ; but only feel that 
they themselves are affected in a certain manner. 

We have said enough about authors : although you had 
asked me whether I did not think that since the time of 
those ancient philosophers, in so many ages, the truth might 
have been discovered, when so many men of genius and dili- 
gence were looking for it 1 What was discovered we will con- 
sider presently, and you yourself shall be the judge. But it 
is easily seen that Arcesilas did not contend with Zeno for 
tlie sake of disparaging him; but that he wished to discover 
the truth. No one, I say, of preceding philosopliers had said 
positively, no one had even hinted that it was possible for 
man never to form opinions : and that for a wise man it was 
not only possible, but indispensable. The opinion of Ai cesil;^ 


appeared not only true, but honoui-able and worthy of a 
wise man. 

Perhaps he asked of Zeno what would happen if a wise 
man could not possibly perceive an}'thing, and if to form 
mere opinion was unworthy of a wise man ^ He answered, I 
suppose, that the wise man never would form mere opinion, 
since there were things which admitted of being perceived. 
What then were they 1 Perceptions, I suppose. What sort 
of perceptions then ? In reply to this he gave a definition, 
That it was such as is impressed and stamped upon and 
figured in us, according to and conformably to something 
which exists. Afterwards the question was asked, whether, if 
such a perception was true, it was of the same character as 
one that was false 1 Here Zeno saw clearly enough that there 
was no perception that could be perceived at all, if the per- 
ception derived from that which is, could possibly resemble 
that wliich is derived from that which is not. 

Arcesilas was quite right in admitting this. An addition 
was made to the definition ; namely, That nothing false 
could be perceived ; nor anything true either, if it was of such 
a character as that which was false. But he applied himself 
diligently to these discussions, in order to prove that no per- 
ception originated in what was true of such a kind that thei'e 
might not be a similar one originating in what was folse. And 
this is the one subject of controversy which has lasted to this 
day. For the other doctrine, that the wise man would never 
assent to anything, had nothing to do with this question. For 
it was quite possible for a man to perceive nothing, and 
nevertheless to be guided at times by opinion ; which is said 
to have been admitted by Carneades. I, indeed, trusting 
rather to Clitomachus than to Philo or Metrodorus, believe 
that he argued this point rather than that he admitted it. 

XXV. However, let us say no more about tliis. Undoubt- 
edly, when opinion and perception are put an end to, the 
retention of every kind of assent must follow ; as, if I prove 
that nothing can be perceived, you would then grant that a 
philosopher would never assent to anything. What is there 
then that can be perceived, if even the senses do not warn us 
of the truth 1 But you, Lucullus, defend them by a common 
topic ; and to prevent you from being able to do so it was, 
that I yesterday, when it was not otherwise necessary, said sj 


much against tlie senses. But you say that you are not at 
a\i moved Ijy " the broken oar" or " the dove's neck." In the 
first place, 1 will ask why 1 — for in the case of the oar, I feel 
that that which appears to be the case, is not really s^o ; and 
that in the dove's neck tliere appear to be many colours, but 
are not in reality more than one. Have we, then, said nothirig 
more than this 1 Let all our arguments stand : that man is 
tearing his cause to pieces ; he says tliat his senses are vora- 
cious. Therefore you have always one l.iacker who will plead 
the cause at his own risk : for Epicurus brings the matter 
down to this point, that if once in a man's life one of his 
senses has decided wrongly, none of them is ever to be 
trusted. This is what he calls being true, and confiding in 
his own witnesses, and urging his proofs to their just conclu- 
sion ; therefore Timagoras the Epicurean declares, that when 
he had twisted his eye with his hand, he had never seen two 
flames appear out of one candle : for that the error was one 
of opinion, and not one of his eyes ; just as if the question 
were what the fact is, and not what it appears to be. How- 
ever, he is just like his predecessors. But as for you, who s:xy 
that of the things perceived by your senses, some are true 
and some false, how do you distinguish between them ? 
Cease, I beg of you, to employ common topics : we have plenty 
of them at home. 

If any god were to ask you, while your senses are sound 
and unimpaired, whether you desire anything fiu-ther, what 
would you answer '? I wish, indeed, he would ask me ! You 
should hear how ill he treats us : for how far are we to look 
in order to see the truth 1 I can see the Cumsean villa of 
Catulus from this place, but not his villa near Pompeii ; not 
that there is any obstacle interposed, but my eyesight cannot 
extend so far. What a superb view ! We see Puteoli, but 
we do not see our friend Avianus, though he may perhaps be 
walking in the portico of Neptune ; there was, however, some 
one or other who is often spoken of in the Schools who could 
see things that were a thousand and eighty furlongs off ; and 
some birds can see further still. I should therefore answer 
your god boldly, that I am not at all contented with these 
eyes of mine. He will tell me, perhaps, that I can see better 
than some fishes ; which are not seen by us, and which even 
uow arc beneath our e3'es. and yet they cannot look up fiu* 


enough to see us : therefore,, as water is shed around them, 
so a dense air is around us. But we desire nothing better. 
VVlmt 1 do you suppose that a mole longs for light 1 — nor 
would he complain to the god that he could not see far, but 
rather that he saw incoirectly. Do you see that ship 1 It 
appears to us to be standing still ; but to those who are in 
that ship, this villa appears to be moving. Seek for the rea- 
son why it seems so, and if you discover it ever so much, and 
I do not know whether you may not be able to, still you will 
have proved, not that you have a trustworthy witness, but that 
he has not given false evidence without siifficient reason. 

XXVI. What need had I to speak of the ship 1 for I saw 
that what I said about the oar was despised by you ; per- 
haps you expect something more serious. What can be 
greater than the sun, which the mathematicians affirm to be 
more than eighteen times as large as the earth 1 How little 
does it appear to us ! To me, indeed, it seems about a foot 
in diameter ; but Epicurus thinks it possible that it may be 
even less than it seems, but not much ; nor does he think 
that it is much greater, but that it is ver}* near the size it 
seems to be: so that our eyes are eitlier quite coiTect, or, at 
all events, not very incorrect. What becomes then of the 
exception, " If once . . . ?" However, let us leave this credu- 
lous man, who does not believe that the senses are ever wrong, 
— not even now, wlien that sun, which is borne along with 
such rapidity that it is impossible even to conceive how great 
its velocity is, nevertheless seems to us to be standing still. 

However, to abridge the controversy, consider, I pray you, 
within what narrow bounds you are confined. Thei-e are four 
principles which conduct you to the conclusion that tjiere is 
nothing which can be known, or perceived, or compreht- uded ; 
— and it is about this that the whole dispute is. The first 
principle is, that some perceptions are folse ; the second, that 
such cannot be perceived ; the third, that of perceptions 
between which there is no diffei'cnce, it is not possible tha.t 
some of them can be perceived and that others cannot ; the 
foiuth, that there is no true perception proceeding from the> 
senses, to which there is not some other perception opposed 
which in no respect difiers from it, and which cannot be per- 
ceived. Now of these four principles, the second and third 
are admitted by every one. Epicurus docs not admit tha 


first, but you, with whom we are now arguing, admit that one 
too, — the whole contest is about the fourth. 

The man, then, who saw Pubhus Servihus Geminus, if he 
thouglit that he saw Quintus. fell into a perception of that 
kind that could not be perceived ; because wliat was true was 
distiuguished by no characteristic mark from what was false : 
and if this distinctive mark were taken away, what character- 
istic of tlie same kind could he have by which to recognise 
Cains Cotta, who was twice consul with Geminus, which 
could not possibly be false 1 You say that such a likeness as 
that is not in the nature of things. You figlit the question 
vigorously, but you ai'e figliting a peaceably disposed adver- 
sary. Grant, then, that it is not ; at all events, it is possible 
that it should seem to be so ; therefore it will deceive the 
senses. And if one likeness deceives them, it will have made 
everything doubtful; for when that judgment is once taken 
away by which alone things can be known, then, even if the 
person whom you see, be really the person whom he appears 
to you to be, still you will not judge by that characteristic 
which you say you ought, being of such a character that one 
of the same kind cannot be false. If, therefore, it is possible 
that Publius Geminus may appear to you to be Quintus, 
what certainty have you that he may not appear to you to be 
Cotta though he is not, since some things do appear to you 
to be what they are not? You say that everytliing has its 
own peculiar genus ; that tliere is nothing the same as some- 
thing else. That is a stoic doctrine, and one not very credible, 
for they say that there is not a siugle hair or a single grain 
in every respect like anot)ier hair or grain. These things 
could all be refuted, but I do not wish to be contentious ; 
for it has nothing in the world to do with the question whether 
the things which are seen do not differ at all in any part, or 
wliether they cannot be distinguished from another even 
thcHigh they do differ. But, granting that there cannot be 
such a likeness between men. can there not be such between 
statues 1 Tell me, could not Lysippus, using the same brass, 
the same composition of metals, the same atmos]>here, water, 
anl all other appliances, have made a hundred Alexanders 
exactly alike ? How then could you distinguish between 
them 1 Again ; if I. with this ring, make a hundred im- 
pressions on the same piece of wax, is it pcssible that thert? 


should be any difference to enable you to distinguish one 
from the other ? — or, shall you have to seek out some ring 
engraver, siuce you have already found us a Delian poulterer 
who could recognise his eggs 1 

XXVII. But you have recourse to art, which you call in tc 
the aid of the senses. A painter sees what we do not see ; 
and as soon as a flute-player plays a note the air is recog- 
nised by a musician. Well 1 Does not this argument seem to 
tell against you, if, without great skill, such as very few per- 
sons of our class attain to, we can neither see nor hear 1 
Then you give an excellent description of the skill with which 
nature has manufactured our senses, and intellect, and the 
whole construction of man, in order to prevent my being 
alarmed at rashness of opinions. Can you also, Lucullus, 
affirm that there is any power united with wisdom and pru- 
dence which has made, or, to use your own expression, manu- 
factured man 1 What sort of a manufacture is that ? Where 
is it exercised ? when 1 why 1 how 1 These points are all 
handled ingeniously, they are discussed even elegantly. Let 
it be said even that they appear likely ; only let them not be 
affirmed positively. But we will discuss natural philosophy 
hereafter, and, indeed, we will do so that you, who said a little 
while ago that I should speak of it, may appear not to have 
spoken falsely. 

However, to come to what is clearer, I sliall now bring for- 
ward general facts on which whole volumes have been filled, 
not only by those of our own School, but also by Chrysippus. 
But the Stoics complain of him, that, while he studiously 
collected every ai-gument which could be brought forward 
iigainst the senses and clearness, and against all custom, and 
against reason, when he came to reply to himself, he was 
inferior to what he had been at first ; and therefore that, in 
fact, he put arms into the hands of Carneades. Those argu- 
ments are such as have been ingeniously handled by you. 
You said that the perceptions of men asleep, or drunk, or 
mad, were less vigorous than those of men awake, sober, and 
sane. How do you prove that 1 because, when Ennius had 
awakened, he would not say that he had seen Homer, but 
only that Homer had seemed to be present. And Alcmteou 

My heart distrusts tlie witness of my eyes. 


And one may say the same of men whd are drunk. As if any 
one denied that when a man has awakened he ceases to thiuk 
his dreams true ; and that a man whose frenzy lias passed 
away, no longer conceives those things to be real which ap- 
peared so to him during his madness. But that is not the 
question : the question is, how those things appear to us, at 
the time when they do appear. Unless, indeed, we suppose 
that Ennius heard the whole of that address — 

piety of the soul .... 

(if, indeed, he did dream it), just as he would have heard it if 
he had been awake. For when awake, he was able to think 
those things j^hantoms — as, in fact, they were — and dreams. 
But while he was asleep, he felt as sure of their reality as it 
he had been awake. Again, Uiona, in that dream of hers, 
where she hears — 

Mother, I call on you .... 
does she not believe that her son has spoken, just as she 
would have believed it if she had been awake 1 On which 
account she adds — 

Come now, stand here, remain, and hear my words, 
And once again repeat those words to me. 

Does she here seem to place less trust in what she has seen 
than people do when awake 1 

XXVIII. Why should I speak of madmen ? — such as your 
relation Tuditanus was, Catulus. Does any man, who may 
be ever so much in his senses, think the things which he sees 
as certain as he used to think those that appeared to iiim i 
Again, the man who cries out — 

1 see you now, I see you now alive, 
Ulysses, while such sight is still aliow'd me; 

does he not twice cry out that he is seeing what he never 
sees at all? Again, when Hercules, in Euripides, shot hie 
ow:; sons with his arrows, taking them for the sons of Eurys- 
theus, — when he slew his wife, — when he endeavoured even 
to slay his flither, - was he not worked upon by false ideas, 
just as he might have been by true ones? Again, does not 
your own Alcmteon, who saj^s that his heart distnists the 
witness of his eyes, say in the same place, while inflamed by 
frenzy — 

Whence does ihi*^ flame arise ! 


And presently afterwards — 

Come on ; come on ; they hasten, they approach ; 
They seek for me. 

Listen, how he implores the good faith of the virgin : — 
bring Vie aid ; drive tliis pest away ; 
This fiery power which now doth torture me ; 
See, they advance, dariv shades, with flames encircled, 
And Stan 1 around me with their blazing torches. 

Have you any doubt here that he appears to himself to see 
these things ? And then the rest of his speech : — 

See how Apollo, fair-hair'd God, 
Draws in and bends his golden bow; 
While on the left fair Dian waves her tor^h. 

How could he have believed these things any more if they 
had really existed than he did when they only seemed to 
exist 1 For it is clear that at the moment his heart was not 
distrusting his eyes. But all these instances are cited in 
order to prove that than which nothing can be more certain, 
namely, that between true and false perceptions there is no 
difference at all, as far as the assent of the mind is concerned. 
But you prove nothing when you merely refute those false 
perceptions of men who are mad or dreaming, by their own 
recollection. For the question is not what sort of recollection 
those people usually have who have awakened, or those who 
have recovered from madness, but what sort of perception 
madmen or dreamers had at the moment when they were 
under the influence of their madness or their dream. How- 
evor, we will say no more about the senses. 

What is there that can be perceived by reason? You say 
that Dialectics have been discovered, and that that science is, 
as it were, an arbiter and judge of what is true and false. 
Of what true and false 1 — and of true and false on what sub- 
ject 1 Will a dialectician be able to judge, in geometry, what 
is true and false, or in literature, or in music ? He knows 
nothing about those things. In philosophy, then ? What is 
it to him how large the sun is? or what means has he which 
may enable him to judge what the chief good is 1 What then 
will he judge of? Of what combination or disjunction of ideas 
is accurate, — of what is an ambiguous expression, — of what 
follows from each fact, or what is inconsistent with it? If tho 
science of dialectics judges of tlicse things, ur things likt>" 



them, it is judging of itself. But it professed more. For to 
judge of these matters is not sufficient for the resolving of 
the other numerous and important questions which arise in 
philosophy. But, since you place so much importance in 
that art, I would have you to consider whether it was not 
invented for the express purpose of being used as^aiust you. 
For, at its first opening, it gives an ingenious account of the 
elements of speaking, and of the manner in whicli one may 
come to an understanding of ambiguous expressions, and of 
the principles of reasoning : then, after a few more things, it 
comes to the sorites, a very slippery and hazanious topic, and 
a class of argument which you yourself pronounced to be a 
vicious one, 

XXIX. What then, you will say ; are we to be l)lamed for 
that viciousuess 1 The nature of things has not given us any 
knowledge of ends, so as to enable us, in any subject whatever, 
to say how fur we can go. Nor is this the case only in respect 
of the heap of wheat, from which the name is derived, but in 
no matter whatever where the argument is conducted by 
minute questions : for instance, if the question be whether a 
man is rich or poor, illustrious or obscure, — whether things 
be many or few, great or small, long or short, broad or nar- 
row, — we have no certain answer to give, how much must be 
added or taken away to make tiie thing in question either 
one or the other. 

But the sorites is a vicious sort of argument : — crush it, 
then, if you can, to prevent its being troublesome ; for it will 
be so, if you do not guard against it. We have guarded 
against it, says he. For Chrysippas's plan is, when he is 
interrogated step by step (by way of giving an instance), ' 
whether there are three, or few, or many, to rest a little before 
he comes to the " many ;" that is to say, to use tlieir own 
language, r;o-uxaCetv. Rest and welcome, says Carneades; you 
nuay even snore, for all I care. But what good does he do ? 
For one follows who will waken you from sleep, and question 
you in the same manner : — Take the number, after the men- 
tion of which you were silent, and if to that number I add 
one, will there be many 1 You will again go on, as long ;is 
you think fit. Why need I say more 1 for you admit this, 
that you cannot in your answers fix the last number which 
cai> be classed as "few," nor the first, which amounts to 


many." And this kind of uncertainty extends so -vridely, 
that I do not see any bounds to its progress. 

Nothing hurts me, siiys he; for I, like a skilful driver, will 
rein in my horses before I come to the end, and all the more 
if the ground which the horses are appi'oaching is precipitous. 
And thus, too, says he, I will check myself, and not reply any 
more to one who addresses me with captious questions. ]f 
you have a clear answer to make, and refuse to make it, you 
are giving yourself airs; if you have not, even you yourself 
do not perceive it. If you stop, because the question is 
obscure, I admit that it is so ; but you say that you do not 
proceed as far as what is obscure. You stop, then, where the 
case is still clear. If then all you do is to hold your tongue, 
you gain nothing by that. For what does it matter to the 
man who wishes to catch you, whether he entangles you 
owing to your silence or to your talking 1 Suppose, for in- 
stance, you were to say, without hesitation, th-at up to the 
number nine, is " few," but were to pause at the tenth ; then 
you would be refusing your assent to what is certain and 
evident, and yet you will not allow me to do the same with 
respect to subjects which are obscure. 

That art, therefore, does not help you against the sorites ; 
ini^smuch as it does not teach a man, who is using either the 
increasing or diminisiiing scale, what is the first point, or tlie 
last. May I not say that that same art, like Penelope undoing 
her web, at last undoes all the arguments which have gone 
before 1 Is that your fault, or ours ? In tnith, it is the 
foiuidation of dialectics, that whatever is enuutiated (and that 
is what they call d^Yw/ta, which answers to our word effatum.) 
is either true or false. What, then, is the case ? Are these 
true or false 1 If you say that you are speaking filsely, and 
that that is trne, you are speaking falsely and telling the 
trnth at the same time. This, forsooth, you say is inex- 
pliaible ; and that is more odious than our language, wlier. 
we call things uucomprehended, and not perceived. 

XXX. However, I will pass over all this. I ask, if those 
things cannot be exi)lained, and if no means of judging of 
them is discovered, so that you can answer whether they are 
true or false, then what has become of that definiti(jn, — " That 
a proposition (effatum) is something which is either true ox 
false T' After tlie facts are assumed I will add, that of tiiem 



some are to be adopted, others impeached, because they are 
contrary to tlie first. What tlieii do you think of this con- 
clusion, — " If you say that the sun shines, and if you speak 
truth, therefore the sun does shine V* At all events you 
approve of the kind of argument, and you say that the con- 
clusion has been most correctly inferred. Therefore, in teach- 
ing, you deliver that as the first mood in which to draw 
conclusions. Either, therefore, you will approve of every 
other conclusion in the same mood, or that art of yours is 
good for nothing. Consider, then, whether you are inclined 
to approve of this conclusion ; — " If you say that you are a 
liar, and speak the truth, then you are a liar. But you do 
say that you are a liar, and you do speak the truth, therefore 
you are a liar." How can you avoid approving of this con- 
clusion, when you a23provecl of the previous one of the same 
kind ? 

These are the arguments of Chrysippus, which even he 
himself did not refute. For what could he do with such a 
concliision as this, — " If it shines, it shines: but it does shine, 
therefore it does shine 1" He must give in ; for the principle 
of the connexion compels you to grant tbe last pi'oposition 
after you have once granted the first. And in what does this 
conclusion differ from the other, — " If you lie, you lie ; but 
you do lie, therefore you do lie?" You assert that it is im- 
possible for you either to approve or disapprove of this : if so, 
how can you any more approve or disapprove of the other ] 
If the art, or the principle, or the method, or the force of the 
one conclusion avails, they exist in exactly the same degree 
in both. 

This, however, is their last resource. They demand that 
one should make an exception with regard to these points 
which are inexplicable. I give my vote for their going to 
some tribune of the people ; for they shall never obtain this 
exception froni me. In truth, when they cannot prevail on 
Epicurus, who despises and ridicules the whole science of 
dialectics, to grant this proposition to be true, which we may 
express thus — " Hermachus will either be alive to-moiTow or 
he will not;" when the dialecticians lay it down that every 
disjunctive proposition, such as "either yes or no" is not 
only true but necessary ; you may see how cautious he is, 
whom they think slow. For, says he, if I should grant that 


one of the two alternatives is necessary, it will then be neces- 
sary either that Hermachus should be alive to-morrow, or not. 
But there is no such necessity in the nature of things. Let 
the dialecticians then, that is to say, Antiochus and the 
Stoics, contend with him, for he upsets the whole science of 

For if a disjunctive proposition made up of contraries, 
(I call those propositions contraries when one affirms and the 
other denies,) if, I say, such a disjunctive can be false, then 
no one is ever true. But what quarrel have they with me 
who am following their system? When anything of that 
kind happened, Carneades used to joke in this way: — " If I 
have drawn my conclusion correctly, I gain the cause : if 
incorrectly, Diogenes shall pay back a mina ;" for he had 
learnt dialectics of that Stoic, and a mina was the pay of the 

I, therefore, follow that system which I learnt from Anti- 
ochus; and I find no reason why I should judge " If it does 
shine, it does shine " to be true, because I have learnt th it 
everything which is connected with itself is true ; and yet not 
judge " If you lie, you lie," to be connected with itself in the 
same manner. Either, therefore, I must judge both this and 
that to be true, or, if I may not judge this to be true, then I 
cannot judge that to be. 

XXXI. However, to pass over all those prickles, and all 
that tortuous kind of discussion, and to show what we are : — 
after having explained the whole theory of Carneades, all the 
quibbles of Antiochus will necessarily fall to pieces. Nor 
will I say anything in such a way as to lead any one to sus- 
pect that anything is invented by me. I will take what I say 
from Clitomachus, who was with Carneades till his old age, a 
man of great shrewdness, (indeed, he was a Carthaginian,) and 
very studious and diligent. And he has written four books 
on the subject of withholding assent ; but what I am going to 
say is taken out of the first. 

Carneades assei'ts tliat there are two kinds of appearances ; 
and that the first kind may be divided into those which can 
be perceived and tliosc wliich cannot ; aud the other into 
those which are probable and those which are not. Tliere- 
fore, those which are pronounced to be contrary to the senses 
aud contrary to evidentness belong to the former division; 


hut that nothing can be objected to those of tlie second kind. 
\Vlierefore his opinion is, that tliere is no appearance of such 
a character tliat perception will follo\v it, but many such as 
to draw after them probability. Indeed, it would be contrary 
to nature if nothing were probable ; and that entire over- 
turning of life, which you were speaking of, LucuUus, would 
ensue. Therefore there are many things which may be proved 
by the senses; only one must recollect that there is not in 
them anything of such a character that there may not also be 
something which is false, but wiiich in no respect difiers from 
it in appearance ; and so, whatever happens which is pro- 
bable in appearance, if nothing otiers itself which is contrary 
to thiit probability, the wise man will use it ; and in this way 
the whole course of life will be regulated. 

And, in trnth, that wise man whom you are bringing on 
the stage, is often guided by what is pi-obable, not being com- 
prehended, nor perceived, nor assented to, but only likely ; 
and unless a man acts on such circumstances there is an end 
to the whole system of life. For what must happen? Has 
the wise man, when he embarks on board ship, a positive 
comprehension and perception in his mind that he will have 
a successful voyage 1 How can hel But suppose he goes from 
this place to Puteoli, thirty furlongs, in a seawortiiy vessel, with 
a good pilot, and in fine weather like this, it appears pro- 
bable that he will arrive there safe. According to appearances 
of this kind, then, he will make up his mind to act or not to 
act; and he will be more willing to find the snow white than 
Anaxagoras, who not only denied that fact, but who affirmed, 
because he knew that water, from which snow was congealed, 
was of a daik colour, that snow did not even look white. 
And he will be influenced by anything which affects him in 
such a way that the appearance is probable, and not inter- 
fered with by any obstacle. For such a man is not cut out 
of stone or hewn out of oak. He has a body, he has a mind, 
he is influenced by intellect, he is influenced by his senses, so 
that many things appear to him to be true, and yet not to have 
conspicuous and peculiar characteristics by which to be per- 
ceived. And therefore the wise man does not assent to them, 
l)ecause it is possible that something false may exist of the 
same kind as this true thing. Nor do we speak against the 
senses difierently from the Stoics, who say that many things 



are false, and are very different from the appearance which 
they present to the senses. 

XXXII. But if this is the case, that one false idea can be 
entertained by the senses, you will find some one in a moment 
who will deny that anytliing can be perceiA'ed by the senses. 
And so, while we are silent, all perception and comprehension 
i.s done away with by the two principles laid down, one by 
Epicurus and the other by you. What is Epicurus's maxim ? 
— If anything that appears to the senses be false, then nothing 
can be perceived. What is yours ? — The appearances pre- 
sented to the senses are false. — What is the conclusion 1 Even 
if I hold my tongue, it speaks for itself, that nothing can be 
perceived. I do not grant that, says he, to Epicurus. Argue 
then with him, as he is wholly at variance with you ; but 
leave me alone, who certainly agree with you so far, that the 
senses are liable to error. Although nothing appears so 
strange to me, as that such things should be said, especially 
by Antiochus, to whom the propositions which I have just 
mentioned were thoroughly known. For although, if he 
pleases, any one may find fault with this, namely with our 
denying tliat anything can be perceived ; at all events it is 
not a very serious reproof that we can have to endure. But 
as for our statement that some things are proljable, this does 
not seem to you to be sufficient. Grant that it is not. At 
least we ought to escape the reproaches which are incessantly 
bandied about by you, " Can you, then, see nothing ? can 
you hear nothing 1 is nothing evident to you 1 " 

I explained just now, on the testimony of Clitomachus, in 
what manner Carneades intended those statements to be taken. 
Hear now, how the same things are stated Ijy Clitomachus in 
that book which he dedicated to Caius Lucilius, the poet, 
after he had written on the same subject to Lucius Censorinus, 
the one, I mean, who was consul with Marcus iSIanilius ; he 
then used almost these very words; for I am well acquainted 
with them, because the first idea and arrangement of those 
very matters which we are now discussing is contained in that 
book. He tli£n uses the following language — 

" The philosophers of the Academy are of opinion that there 
are differences between things of such a kind tliat some ap- 
pear probable, and others the contrary. But that it is nut a 
sufficient reason for one's saying that some of these caia btf 


perceived and that others cannot, because many things whiclj 
are false are probable ; but nothing false can be perceived and 
known. Therefore, says he, those men are egregiously wrong 
wlio say that the Academics deny the existence of the senses; 
for they have never said that there is no such thing as colour, 
or taste, or sound; the only point they argue for is, tliat 
there is not in them that peculiar characteristic mark of truth 
and certainty which does not exist anywhere else. 

And after having explained this, he adds, that there are 
two senses in which the wise man may be said to suspend his 
assent : one, when it is understood that he, as a general rule, 
assents to nothing; the other, when he forbears answering, so 
as to say that he approves or disapproves of anything, or, so 
as to deny or affirm anything. This being the case, he 
approves of the one sense, so as never to assent to anything ; 
and adheres to the other, so as to be able to answer yes, or 
no, following probability whenever it either occurs or is want- 
ing. And that one may not be astonished at one, who in 
every matter withholds himself from expressing his assent, 
being nevertheless agitated and excited to action, he leaves us 
perceptions of the sort by which we ai'e excited to action, and 
those owing to which we can, when questioned, answer either 
way, being guided only by appearances, as long as we avoid 
expressing a deliberate assent. And yet we must look ujxm 
all appearances of that kind as probable, but only those which 
have no obstacles to counteract them. If we do not induce 
you to approve of these ideas, they may perhaps be false, but 
they certainly do not deserve odium. For we are not de- 
priving you of any light; but with reference to the things 
which you assert are perceived and comprehended, we say., that 
if they be only pi-obable, they appear to be true. 

XXXIII. Since, therefore, what is probable, is thus inferred 
and laid down, and at the same time disencumbered of all 
difficulties, set free and unrestrained, and disentangled from 
all extraneous circumstances ; you see, Lucullus, that that 
defence of perspicuity which you took in hand is utterly over- 
thrown. For this wise man of whom I am siieaking will 
survey the heaven and earth and sea with the same eyes as 
your wise man ; and will feel with the same senses all those 
other things which fall under each respective sense. Tiiat 
tea, which now, as luu wcii wind is rising over it, apjieai-s 


purple to us, will appear so too to our wise man, but iiever- 
theiess he will not sanction the appearance by his assent; 
because, to us ourselves it appeared just now blue, and in 
the morning it appeared yellow ; and now, too, because it 
sparkles in the sun, it is white and dimpled, and quite unlike 
the adjacent continent; so that, even if you could give an 
account why it is so, still you could not establish tlie truth of 
the appearance that is presented to the eyes. 

Whence then, — for this was the question which you asked, 
— comes memory, if we perceive nothing, since we cannot 
recollect anything ^diich we have seen unless we have com- 
prehended it ? What? Did Polyajnus, who is said to have 
been a great mathematician, after he had been pereuaded by 
Epicurus to believe all geometry to be false, forget all the 
knowledge which he had previously possessed? But that 
which is false cannot be comprehended as you yourselves 
assert. If, therefore, memory is conversant only with things 
which have been perceived and oomprehended, then it retains 
as comprehended and perceived all that every one remembers. 
But nothing false can be comprehended; and Scyron recol- 
lects all the dogmas of Epicurus ; therefore tliey are all true. 
For all I care, they may be ; but you also must either admit 
that they are so, and that is the last thing in your thoughts, 
or else you must allow me memory, and grant that tliere is 
plenty of room for it, even if there be no comprehension or 

What then is to become of the arts? Of what arts? of 
those, which of their own accord confess that tliey proceed 
on conjecture more than on knowledge; or of those which 
only follow what appeara to them, and are destittitc of that 
art which you possess to enable them to distinguish between 
truth and falsehood ? 

But there are two lights which, more than any others, con- 
tain the whole case; for, in the first place, you deny the 
1 jssibility of any man invariably withholding his assent fronx 
■everything. But that is quite plain; since Pantetius, almost 
the gi-eatest man, in my opinion, of all the Stoics, says that 
he is in doubt as to that matter, which all the Stoics exce])t 
him think absolutely certain, namely as to the truth of the 
auspices taken by soothsayers, and of oracles, and dreams, 
and prophecies; and forbeai-s to exj)ress any assent resj^ecting 


them. And why, if he may pursue this course conceniing 
those matters, which the men of whom he liimself learnt con- 
sidered unquestionable, why may not a wise man do so too in 
all other cases'? Is there any position which a man may 
either approve or disapprove of after it has been asserted, but 
yet may not doubt about 1 May you do so with respect to 
the sorites whenever you please, and may not he take his 
stand in the same manner in other cases, especially when 
without expressing his assent he may be able to follow a 
probabilitj'' which is not embaiTassed by anything 1 

The second point is that you declare that man incapa-ble 
of action who withholds his assent from everything. For 
first of all we must see in what assent consists. For the 
Stoics say that the senses themselves are assents ; that desire 
comes after them, and action after desire. But that every 
thing is at an end if we deny perception. 

XXXIV. Now on this subject many things have been said 
and written on both sides, but the whole matter ma}' be sum- 
med up in a few words. For although I think it a very great 
exploit to resist one's perceptions, to withstand one's vague 
opinions, to check one's propensity to give assent to proposi- 
tions, — and though I quite agree with Clitomachus, when he 
writes that Carneades achieved a Herculean labour when, a.« 
if it had been a savage and formidable monster, he extracted 
assent, that is to say, vague opinion and rashness, from our 
minds, — yet, supposing that part of the defence is wholly 
omitted, what will hinder the action of that man who follows 
probability, without any obstacle arising to emlmiTass him? 
This thing of itself, says he, will embarrass him, — that he will 
lay it down, that even the thing he approves of cannot ^ye 
perceived. And that will hinder you, also, in sailing, in 
planting, in marrying a wife, in becoming the parent of chil- 
dren, and in many things in which you follow nothing except 
what is probable. 

And, nevertheless, you bring up again that old and often 
repudiated objection, to employ it not as Antipater did, but, 
as you say, in a closer manner. For you tell us that Antipater 
was blamed for saying, that it was consistent in a man who 
affirmed that nothing could be comprehended, to say that at 
least this fact of that impossibility could be comprehended," 
which appeared even to Autiochus to be a stupid kind ol 


assertion, and contradictory to itself. For that it cannot be 
said -with any consistency that nothing can be comprehended, 
if it is asserted at the same time that the fact of the impossi- 
biUty can be comprehended. He thinks that Carneades ouglit 
Hitherto be pressed in this way: — As the wise man admits of no 
dogma except such as is comprehended, perceived, and known, 
he must therefore confess that this very dogma of the wise 
man, " that nothing can be perceived," is perceived ; as if the 
wise man had no other maxim whatever, and as if he could 
pass his life without any. But as he has others, which are 
probable, but not positively perceived, so also has he this one, 
that nothing can be perceived. For if he had on this point 
any characteristic of certain knowledge, he woidd also have it 
on all other points ; but since he has it not, he employs pro- 
babilities. Therefore he is not afraid of appearing to be 
throwing everything into confusion, and making it uncertain. 
For it is not admissible for a person to say that he is ignorant 
about duty, and about many other things with which he is 
constantly mixed up and conversant ; as he might say, if he 
were asked whether the number of the stars is odd or even. 
For in things luicertain, nothing is probable ; but as to those 
matters in which there is probability, in those the wise man 
will not be at a loss what to do, or what answer to give. 

Nor have you, Lucullus, omitted that other objection 
of Antiochus (and, indeed, it is no wonder, for it is a very 
notorious one,) by which he used to say that Philo was above 
all things perplexed. For when one proposition was assumed, 
that some appearances were false, and a second one that 
there was no difference between them and true ones, he said 
that that school omitted to take notice that the former pro- 
position had been granted by him, because there did appear 
to be some difference between appearances ; but that that v,as 
put an end to by the second proposition, which asserted that 
there was no difference between false and true ones ; for that 
no two assertions could be moi-e contradictory. And this 
objection would be correct if we altogether put truth out of 
the question : but we do not; for we see both true appear- 
ances and false ones. But there is a show of probabihty in 
them, though of perception we have no sign whatever. 

XXXV. And I seem to myself to be at this moment adopt- 
ing too meagi-e an argument ; for, when there is a wide plain, 
in which our discourse may rove at liberty, why should wo 


confine it witliin such narrow straits, and drive it into the 
thickets of the Stoics? For if I were arguing with a Peripa- 
tetic, who said " that everything could be perceived which 
was an impression originating in the trutli," and who did not 
employ that additional clause, — " in such a way as it could not 
originate in what was f;ilse," I should then deal plainly with a 
plain man, and should not be very dispiitatious. And even 
if, when I said tliat nothing could be comprehended, he was 
to say that a wise man was sometimes guided by opinion, I 
should not contradict him ; especially as even Carneades is 
not very hostile to this idea. As it is, what can I do ? For 
I am asking what there is that can be comprehended; and I 
am answered, not by Aristotle, or Theophrastus, or even 
Xenocrates or Polemo, but by one who is of much later date 
than they, — " A truth of such a nature as what is false cannot 
be." I find nothing of the sort. Therefore I will, in truth, 
assent to what is unknown ; — that is to say, I will be guided 
by opinion. This I am allowed to do both by the Pei'ipate- 
tics and by the Old Academy; but you refuse me such indul- 
gence, and in this refusal Antiochus is the foremost, who has 
great weight with me, either because I loved the man, as he 
did me, or because T consider him the most refined and acute 
of all the philosophers of our age. 

And, first of all, I will ask him how it is that he is a fol- 
lower of that Academy to which he professes to belong ? For, 
to pass over other points, who is there, either of the Old Aca- 
demy or of the Peripatetics, who has ever made these two 
assertions which are the subject of discussion, — either that 
that alone could be perceived which was a truth of such a 
nature, as what was ftilse could not be ; or that a wise man 
was never guided by opinion 1 Certainly no one of tl>em ever 
said so. Neither of these propositions was much maintained 
before Zeno's time. But 1 consider both of them true ; and I 
do not say so just to serve the present tui-n, but it is my 
honest opinion. 

XXXVI. This is what I cannot bear. When you forbid me 
to assent to what I do not know, and say such a proceeding 
is most discreditable, and full of rashness, — when you, at the 
same time, arrogate so much to yourself, as to take upon 
yourself to explain the whole system of wisdom, to unfold the 
nature of all things, to form men's manners, tu fix the limits 
of good and evil, to describe men's duties, and also to under- 


take to teach a complete rule and system of disputing and 
understanding, will you be able to prevent me from never 
tripping while embracing all those multitudinous branches of 
knowledge? What, in short, is that school to which you 
would conduct me, after you have carried me away from this 
one 1 I fear you will be acting rather aiTogantly if you say it 
is your own. Still you must inevitably say so. Nor, indeed, 
are you the only person who would say such a thing, but 
every one will try and tempt me to his own. Come ; suppose 
I resist the Peripatetics, who say that they are closely con- 
nected with the orators, and that illustrious men who have 
been instructed by them have often governed the republic ; — 
suppose that I withstand the Epicureans, so many of whom 
are friends of my own, — excellent, united, and affectionate 
men; — what am I to do with respect to Deodotus the Stoic, 
of whom I have been a pupil from my youth, — who has been 
living with me so many years, — who dwells in my house, — 
whom I admire and love, and who despises all those theories 
of Antiochus ? Our principles, you will say, are the only tnae 
ones. Certainly the only true ones, if they are true at all ; 
for there cannot be many true principles incompatible with 
one another. Are w^e then shameless who are unwilling to 
make mistakes ; or they arrogant who have persuaded tiiem- 
selves that they are the only people who know everything ? 
I do not, says he, assert that I, but that the wise man 
knows everj^thing. Exactly so ; that he knows those things 
which are the principles of your school. Now, in the first 
place, what an assertion it is that wisdom cannot he explained 
by a wise man. — But let us leave off speaking of ourselves ; 
let us speak of the wise man, about whom, as I have often 
said before, the whole of this discussion is. 

Wisdom, then, is distributed by most people, and indeed by 
us, into three parts. First therefore, if you please, let us con- 
sider the researches that have been made into the nature of 
things. Is there any one so puflied up with a flilse opinion of 
himself as to have persuaded himself that he knows those 
tilings 1 I am not asking about those reasons which depend 
on coujecture, which are dragged every way by discussions, 
and which do not admit any necessity of persuasion. Let the 
geometricians look to that, who profess not to persuade men 
to believe them, but to compel them to do so ; and who prove 
to you everything that they describe. 1 am not asking these 


men for those principles of tlie mathematicians, which, if they 
be not granted, tliey cannot advance a single step; such aa 
that a point is a thing which has no magnitude, — that an 
extremity or levclness, as it were, is a space which has no 
tiiickness, — that a line is length witliout breadth. Thou'di I 
should grant that all these axioms are true, if I were to add 
an oath, do you think a wise man would swear that the sun is 
many degrees greater than the earth, before Archimedes had, 
before his eyes, made out all those calculations by which it is 
proved? If he does, then he will be despising the sun which 
he considers a god. But if he will not believe the mathema- 
tical calculations whicli employ a sort of constraint in teach- 
ing, — as you yourselves say, — surely he will be very far from 
believing the arguments of philosophers ; or, if he docs believe 
any such, which school will he believe ? One may explain all 
the j)rinciples of natural philosophers, but it would take a 
long time : I ask, however, whom he will follow ? Suppose 
for a moment that some one is now being made a wise man, 
but is not one yet, — what system and what school shall he 
select above all others 1 For, whatever one he selects, he will 
select while he is still unwise. But gi-ant that he is a man oi 
godlike genius, which of all the natural philosophers will he 
approve of above all others 1 For he cannot approve of more 
than one. I will not pursue an infinite number of questions; 
only let us see whom he will approve of with respect to the 
elements of things of which all things are composed; for 
there is a great disagreement among the greatest men on this 

XXXVII. First of all, Thales, one of the seven, to whom 
they say that the other six yielded the preeminence, said 
that everything originated out of water; but he failed to 
convince Anaximander, his countryman and companion, of 
this theory ; for his idea was that tiiere was an infinity of 
nature from which all things were produced. After him, his 
pupil, Anaximenes, said tiiat the air was infinite, but that the 
things which were generated from it were finite ; and that 
the earth, and water, and fire, were generated, and that from 
them was produced evei'y thing else. Anaxagoras said that 
matter was infinite ; but that from it were j^roduced minute 
particles resembling one another ; that at first tiiey were con- 
fused, but afterwards brought into order by divine intellect. 
Xeuophanes, who was a little more ancient still, assexted that 

academij questions, 79 

all things were only one single being, and that tliat bting waa 
immutable and a god, not born, but everlasting, of a globular 
form. Parmenides considered that it is fire that moves the 
earth, which is formed out of it. Leucippus thought tiiat 
there was a plenuiu, and a vacuum ; Democritus resembled 
him in this idea, but was more copious on other mattere : 
Empedocles adopts the theory of the four ordinary and com- 
monly known elements. Heraclitus refers everything to fire ; 
Melissus thinks that what exists is infinite, immutable, always 
has existed, and always will. Plato thinks that the world 
w^as made by God, so as to be eternal, out of matter which 
collects evei-y thing to itself. The Pythagoreans affirm that 
everything proceeds from numbers, and from the principles of 

Now of all these different teachers the wise man will, 
I imagine, select some one to follow ; all the rest, numerous, 
and great men as they are, will be discarded by liim and 
condemned ; but whichever doctrine he approves of he will 
retain in his mind, being comprehended in tlie same manner 
as those things which he comprehends by means of tlie senses ; 
nor will he feel any gieater certainty of the fact of its now 
being day, than, since he is a Stoic, of this world being wise, 
being endowed with intellect, which has made both itself and 
the world, and •which regulates, sets in motion, and governs 
everything. He will also be persuaded that the sun, and 
moon, and all the stars, and the earth, and sea, are gods, be- 
cause a certain animal intelligence pervades and passes 
through them all : but nevertheless that it will happen some 
day or other that all this world will be burnt up with fire. 

XXXVIII. Suppose that all this is true : (for you see 
already that I admit that something is true,) still I deny that 
tiiese things are comprehended and perceived. For when that 
wise Stoic of yours has repeated all that to you, syllable by 
syllable, Aristotle will come forward pouring forth a golden 
stream of eloquence, and pronoiuico him a fool ; and assert 
that the world has never had a beginning, because there never 
existed any beginning of so admirable a work from the adop- 
tion of a new plan : and that the world is so excellently made 
in every part that no power could be great enough tt) cause 
such motion, and such changes ; nor could any time whatever 
1)6 long enough to produce an old age capable of causing all 
this beauty to decay and perish. It will be indispensable for 


you to deny this, and to defend the former doctrine a« you 
would your own Hfe and reputation ; may I not have even 
leave to entertain a doubt on the matter ? To say nothing 
about the folly of people who assent to propositions rashly, 
what value am I to set upon a liberty which will not allow 
to me what is necessary for you 1 Why did God, when he 
was making everything for the sake of man, (for this is your 
doctrine.) make such a multitude of water-serpents and 
vipers ? Why did he scatter so many pernicious and fatal 
things over the earth ? You assert that all this universe 
could not have been made so beautifully and so ingeniously 
without some godlike wisdom ; the majesty of which you 
trace down even to the perfection of bees and ants ; so that 
it would seem that there must have been a Myrmecides' among 
the gods ; the maker of all animated things. 

You say that nothing can have any power without God. 
Exactly opposite is the doctrine of Strato of Lampsacus, who 
gives that God of his exemj)tion from all important busines?. 
But as the priests of the gods have a holiday, how much more 
reasonable is it that the gods should have one themselves 1 
He then asserts that he has no need of the aid of the gods 
to account for the making of the world. Everything that 
exists, he says, was made by Nature : not agreeing with that 
other philosopher who teaches, that the universe is a con- 
crete mass of rough and smooth, and hooked and crooked 
bodies, with the addition of a vacuum : this he calls a dream 
of Democritus, and says that he is here not teaching, but 
wishing ; — but he himself, examining each separate part of 
the world, teaches that whatever exists, and whatever is done, 
is caused, or has been caused, by natural weights and motions. 
In this way he releases God from a great deal of hard work, 
and me from fear ; for who is there who, (when he thinks 
that he is an object of divine care,) does not feel an awe of 
the divine power day and night ? And who, whenever any 
misfortunes happen to him (and what man is there to whom 
none happen 1) feels a dread lest they may have befallen him 
desei-vedly — not, indeed, that I agree with that ; but neithei 
do I witliyou: at one time I think one doctrine more pro- 
bable, and at other times I incline to the other. 

XXXIX. All these mysteries, Lucullus, lie concealed 
and enveloped in darkness so thick that no hiuuan ingenuity 
' From niipu-v^ y^n ant. 


has a sight sufficiently piercing to penetrate into heaven, and 
dive into the earth. We do not understand our own bodies : 
we do not know what is the situation of their diflFerent parts, 
or what power each part has : therefore, the physicians them- 
sflves, whose business it was to underetand these things, have 
opened bodies in order to lay those parts open to view. And 
yet empirics say that they are not the better known for that : 
because it is possible that, by being laid open and uncovered, 
they may be changed. But is it possible for us, in the same 
m inner, to anatomize, and open, and dissect the natures of 
tilings, so as to see whether the earth is firmly fixed on its 
foundations and sticks firm on its roots, if I may so say, or 
whether it hangs in the middle of a vacuum ? Xenophanes 
s lys that the moon is inhabited, and that it is a oountiy of 
many cities and mountains. These assertions seem strange, but 
the man who has made them could not take his oath that such 
is the case ; nor could I take mine that it is not the case. You 
also say that, opposite to us, on the contrary side of the earth, 
there are people who stand with their feet opposite to our 
feet, and you call them Antipodes. Why are you more angry 
with me, who do not despise these theories, than with those 
who, when they hear them, think that you are beside your- 
selves ? 

Hiretas of Syracuse, as Theophrastus tells us, thinks that 
the sun, and moon, and stars, and all the heavenly bodies, in 
short, stand still ; and that nothing in the world moves 
except the earth ; and, as that turns and revolves on its own 
axis with the greatest rapidity, he thinks that everything is 
made to appear by it as if it were the heaven which is moved 
while the earth stands still. And, indeed, some people think 
that Plato, in the Tima)us, asserts this, only rather obscurely. 
What is your opinion, Epicurus 1 Speak. Do you think 
that the sun is so small ? — Do 1 1 Do you yourselves think 
it so large 1 But all of you are ridiculed by him, and you in 
your turn mock him. Socrates, then, is ft-ee from this ridi- 
cule, and so is Ariston of Chios, who thinks that of these 
matters can be known. 

But I return to the mind and body, Is it sufficiently 
known by us what is the nature of the sinews and of the 
veins 1 Do we comprehend what the mind is '? — where it is ? 
• — or, in short, whether it exists at all, or whether, as Diceear- 

ACAD. sv,-}. Q 


chus thinks, there is no such thing whatever 1 If there is 
such a thing, do we know whether it has three divisions, as 
Plato thought; those of reason, anger, and desire? — or whether 
it is single and uniform ] If it is single and uniform, do we 
know wliether it is fire, or breath, or blood 1 — or, as Xeno- 
crates says, number without a body 1 — though, what sort of 
thing that is, is not very easy to undei'stand. And whatever 
it is, do we know whether it is mortal or eternal 1 For many 
arguments are alleged on both sides. 

XL. Some of these theories seem certain to your wise man : 
but ours does not even see what is most probable ; so nearly 
equal in weight are the opposite arguments in most cases. 
If you proceed more modestly, and reproach me, not because 
I do not assent to your reasoning, but because I do not assent 
to any, I will not resist any further : bi;t I will select some 
one with whom I may agree. Whom shall I choose? — whom] 
Democritus ? for, as you know, I have always been a favourer 
of noble birth, I shall be at once overwhelmed with the 
reproaches of your whole body. Can you think, they will say 
to me, that there is any vacuum, when everything is so filled 
and close packed that whenever any body leaves its place 
and moves, the place which it leaves is immediately occupied 
by some other body ? Or can you believe that there ai-e any 
atoms to which whatever is made by their combination is 
entirely unlike 1 or that any excellent thing can be made 
without intellect 1 And. since this admirable beauty is found 
in one world, do you think that there are also innumerable 
other worlds, above, below, on the right hand and on the left, 
before, and behind, some unlike this one, and some of the 
same kind ? And, as we are now at Baidi, and are beholding 
Tuteoli, do you think that there are in other places like these 
a countless host of men, of the same names and rank, and 
exploits, and talents, and appearances, and ages, arguing on 
the same subjects ? And if at this moment, or when we are 
asleep, we seem to see anything in our mind, do you think 
that those images enter from without, penetrating into our 
minds through our bodies ? You can never adopt such ideas 
as these, or give your assent to such preposterous notions. It 
is better to have no ideas at all than to have such erroneous 
ones as these. 

Your object, then, is not tc make me sanction anything by 


my assent. If it were, consider whether it would not be 
ftn impudent, not to say an an-ogant demand, especially as 
these principles of yours do not seem to me to be even pro- 
bable. For I do not believe that there is any such thing as 
divination, which you assent to ; and I also despise fate, by 
which you say that everything is regulated, I do not even 
believe that this world was formed by divine wisdom ; or, 
I sliould rather say, I do not know whether it was so formed 
or not. 

XLT. But why should you seek to disparage me 1 May J 
not confess that I do not understand what 1 really do not ? 
Or may the Stoics argue with one other, and may I not argue 
with them? Zeno, and nearly all the rest of the Stoics, con- 
sider JEther as the Supreme God, being endued with reason, 
by which everything is governed. Cleanthes, who we may 
call a Stoic, Majorum Gentium, the pupil of Zeno, thinks that 
the Sun has the supreme rule over and government of every- 
thing. We are compelled, therefore, by the dissensions of 
these wise men, to be ignorant of our own ruler, inasmuch as 
we do not know whetlier we are subjects of the Sun or of 
iEther. But the great size of the sun, (for this present radi- 
ance of his appears to be looking at me,) warns me to make 
frequent mention of him. Now you all speak of his magni- 
tude as if you had measured it with a ten-foot rule, (though 
I refuse credit to your measurement, looking on you as but 
bad architects.) Is there then any room for doubt, which of 
us, to speak as gently as possible, is the more modest of 
the two 1 Not, however, that I think those questions of the 
natural philosophers deserving of being uttei'ly banished from 
our consideration; for the consideration and contemplation 
of nature is a sort of natui'al food, if I may say so, for our 
minds and talents. We are elevated by it, we seem to be 
raised above the earth, we look down on human affairs; 
and by fixing our thoughts on high and heavenly things we 
despise the affairs of this life, as small and inconsiderable. 
The mere investigation of things of the greatest importance, 
which are at the same time veiy secret, has a certain pleasure 
in it. And when anything meets us which appears hkely, our 
minds are filled with pleasure thoroughly worthy of a man. 
Both your wise man and ours, then, will inquire into these 
things ; but yours will do so in order to assent, to feel belief^ 



to express affirmation ; ours, with such feelings that he will 
fear to yield rashly to opinion, and will think that he has 
succeeded admirably if in matters of this kind he has found 
out anything which is likely. 

Let us now come to the qiiestion of the knowledge of good 
and evil. But we must say a few words by way of preface. 
It appeal's to me that they who speak so positively about 
those questions of natural philosophy, do not reflect that they 
are depriving themselves of the authority of those ideas which 
appear more clear. For they cannot give a clearer assent to, 
or a more positive approval of the fact that it is now day- 
light, than they do, when the crow croaks, to the idea that it 
is commanding or prohibiting something. Nor will they 
affirm that that statue is six feet high more positively after 
they have measured it, than that the sun, which they cannot 
measure, is more than eighteen times as large as the earth. 
From which this conclusion arises : if it cannot be perceived 
how large the sun is, he who assents to other things in the 
same manner as he does to the magnitude of the sun, does 
not perceive them. But the magnitude of the sun cannot be 
perceived. He, then, who assents to a statement about it, as 
if he perceived it, perceives nothing. Suppose they w^ere to 
reply that it is possible to perceive how large the sun is; I 
will not object as long as they admit that other things toe 
can be perceived and comprehended in the same manner 
For they cannot affirm that one thing can be comprehended 
more or less than another, since there is only one definition 
of the comprehension of everything. 

XLII. However, to go back to what I had begun to say — 
What have we in good and bad certainly ascertained? (we must, 
of course, fix boundaries to which the sum of good and evil is 
to be referred ;) what subject, in fact, is there about which there 
is a t:reater disagi-eement between the most learned men? I 
nay nothing about those points which seem now to be aban- 
doned ; or about Herillus, who places the chief good in know- 
ledge and science : and though he had been a pupil of Zeno, 
you see how far he disagi'ees with him, and how veiy little 
he difters from Plato. The school of the ]\legaric philoso- 
})hei's was a very celebrated one ; and its chief, as 1 see it 
stated in books, was Xenophanes, whom I mentioned just 
now. After him came Purnicnides and Zeno ; and from them 


the Eleatic philosophers get their name. Afterwards came 
Euclid of Megara. a pupil of Socrates, from whom that school 
got the name o^ Alegaric. And they defined that as the only 
good whicli was always one, alike, and identical. They also 
borrowed a great deal from Plato. But the Eretrian philoso- 
phers, who were so called from Menedumus, because he was 
a native of Eretria, placed all good in the mind, and in that 
acuteness of the mind by which the truth is discerned. The 
Megarians say very nearly the same, only that they, I think, 
develop their theory with more elegance and richness of 
illustration. If we now despise these men, and think them 
worthless, at all events we ought to show more respect for 
Ariston, who, having been a pupil of Zeno, adopted in reality 
the principles which he had asserted in words ; namely, that 
there was nothing good except virtue, and nothing evil except 
what was contrary to virtue ; and who denied altogether the 
existence of those influences which Zeno contended for as being 
intermediate, and neither good nor evil. His idea of the chief 
good, is being affected in neither direction by these circum- 
stances ; and this state of mind he calls aSia<^opta ; but 
Pyrrho asserts that the wise man does not even feel them ; 
and that state is called aTrdOeia. 

To say nothing, then, of all these opinions, let us now 
examine those others which have been long and vigorously 
maintained. Some have accounted pleasure the chief good ; 
the chief of whom was Aristippus, who had been a pupil of 
Socrates, and from whom the Cyrenaic school spring. After 
him came Epicurus, whose school is now better known, 
though he does not exactly agi-ee with the Cyrenaics about 
pleasure itself But Callipho thought that pleasure and 
honour combined made up the chief good. Hieronymus 
placed it in being free from all annoyance ; Diodorus in this 
state when combined witli honour. Both these last men were 
Peripatetics. To live honourably, enjoying those things which 
nature makes most dear to man, was the definition both of 
the Old Academy, (as as we may learn from the writings of 
Polemo, who is highly approved of by Antiochus,) and of 
Aristotle, and it is the one to which his fi'iends appear now 
to come nearest. Carueades also introduced a definition, 
(not because he approved of it himself, but for the sake of 
opposition to the Stoics \ that the chief good is to eniov thcsM 


things which nature lias made man consider as most desirable. 
But Zeuo laid it down that tliat honourablcness which ai'isea 
from conformity to nature is the chief good. And Zeno was 
the founder and chief of the Stoic school. 

XLIII. This now is plaiu enough, that all these chief 
goods which I have mentioned have a chief evil correspond- 
ing to them, which is their exact opposite. I now put it to 
you, whom shall I follow 1 only do not let any one make me 
so ignorant and absurd a reply as, Any one, provided only that 
you follow some one or other. Nothing more inconsiderate 
can be said : I wish to follow the Stoics. Will Antiochus, 
(I do not say Aristotle, a man almost, in my opinion, un- 
rivalled as a philosopher, but will Antiochus) give me leave 1 
And he was called an Academic; but he would have been, 
with very little alteration, something very like a Stoic. The 
matter shall now be brought to a decision. For we must 
either give the wise man to the Stoics or to the Old Academy. 
He cannot l)elongto both; for the contention between them is 
not one about boundaries, but about the whole teiTitory. For 
the whole system of life depends on the definition of the chief 
good; and those who differ on that point, differ about the 
whole system of life. It is impossible, therefore, that those 
of both these schools should be wise, since they differ so 
much from one another : but one of them only can be so. 
If it be the disciple of Polemo, then the Stoic is wrong, who 
assents to an error : and you say that nothing is so incom- 
patible with the character of a wise man as that. But if the 
principles of Zeno be true, then we must say the same of the 
Old Academics and of the Peripatetics ; and as I do not know 
which is the more wise of the two, I give my assent to neither. 
What 1 when Antiochus in some points disagrees with the 
Stoics whom he is so fond of, does he not show that these 
principles cannot be approved of by a wise man 1 

The Stoics assert that all offences are equal : but Antiochus 
energetically resists this doctrine. At least, let me consider 
before I decide which opinion I will embrace. Cut the mat- 
ter short, says he, do at last decide on something. What ? The 
reasons which are given appear to me to be both shrewd and 
nearly equal : may I not then be on my guard agivinst com- 
mitting a crime 1 for you called it a crime, Lucullus, to vio- 
late a principle ; I, therefore, restrain myself, lest I should 


assent to what T do not understand ; and this principle I have 
in common with you. 

Here, however, is a much greater difference. — Zeno thinks 
that a happy life depends on virtue alone. What says Anti- 
ochus ? He admits that this is true of a happy life, but not 
of the happiest possible life. The first is a god, who thinks 
that nothing can be wanting to virtue ; the latter is a mise- 
rable man, who thinks that there are many things besides 
virtue, some of which are dear to a man, and some even 
necessary. But I am afraid that the former may be attri- 
buting to virtue more than nature can bear ; especially since 
Theophrastus has said many things with eloquence and 
copiousness on this subject ; and I fear that even he may 
not be quite consistent with himself. For though he admits 
that there are some evils both of body and fortune, he never- 
theless thinks that a man may be happy who is afflicted by 
them all, provided he is wise. I am perplexed here ; at one 
time the one opinion appears to me to be more probable, 
and at another time the other does. And yet, luiless one or 
the other be true, I think virtue must be entirely trampled 
under foot. 

XLIV. However, they differ as to this principle. What 
then ? Can we approve, as true, of those maxims on which they 
agree ; namely, that the mind of the wise man is never in- 
fluenced by either desire or joy ? Come, suppose this opinion 
is a probable one, is this other one so too ; namely, that it 
never feels either alarm or grief? Cannot the wise fear 1 
And if his coiintiy be destroyed, cannot he gi'ieve 1 That 
seems harsh, but Zeno thinks it inevitable; for he considers 
nothing good except what is honourable. But you do not 
think it true in the least, Antiochus. For you admit that 
there are many good things besides honour, and many evils 
besides baseness ; and it is inevitable that the wise man must 
fear such when coming, and grieve when they have come. 
But I ask when it was decided by tlie Old Academy that they 
were to deny that the mind of the wise man could be agitated 
or disturbed 1 They approved of intermediate states, and 
asserted that there was a kind of natural mean in every agita- 
tion. We have all read the treatise on Grief, by Crantor, a 
disciple of the Old Academy. It is not large, but it is a golden 
book, and one, as Panaetius tells Tubero, worth learning l>v 


heart. And those men used to say that those agitations were 
very profitably given to our minds by nature ; fear, in order 
that we may take care ; pity and melancholy they called the 
whetstone of our clemency ; and anger itself that of cur 
courage. Whetlicr they were right or wrong we may consider 
another time. How it was that those stern doctrines of yours 
forced their way into tlie Old Academy I do not know, but 
I cannot bear them : not because they have anything in them 
particularly di«:vgrceable to me; for many of the marvellous 
doctrines of the Stoics, which men call irapaSo^a, are derived 
from Socrates. But where has Xenocrates or where has 
Aristotle touched these points 1 For you tiy to make out 
the Stoics to be the same as these men. Would they ever 
say that wise men were the only kings, the only rich, the only 
handsome men 1 that everything everywhere belonged to 
the wise man 1 that no one was a consul, or prsetor, or 
general, or even, for aught I know, a quinquevir, but the 
wise man 1 lastly, that he was the only citizen, the only 
free man 1 and that all who are destitute of wisdom are 
foreigners, exiles, slaves, or madmen 1 last of all, that the 
writings of Lycurgus and Solon and our Twelve Taldes are 
not laws 1 that thez'e are even no cities or states except those 
which are peopled by wise men 1 Now these maxims, Lu- 
cullus, if you agree with Antiochus, your own friend, must 
be defended by you as zealously as the bulwarks of your city ; 
but I am only bound to uphold them with moderation, just iis 
much as I think fit. 

XLV. I have read in Clitomachus, that when Carneades 
and Diogenes the Stoic were standing in the capitol before 
the senate, Aulus Albonus (who was prtetor at the time, in the 
•consulship of Publius Scipio and Marcus Marcellus, the same 
Albonus who was consul, LucuUus, with your own grandfather, 
a learned man, as his own history shows, which is written in 
Greek) said jestingh' to Cameades — " I do not, Carneades, 
seem to you to be preetor because I am not wise, nor does this 
Beem to be a city, nor do the inhabitants seem to be citizens, for 
the same reason." And he answered — " That is the Stoic 
doctrine." Aristotle or Xenocrates, whom Antiochus wished to 
follow, would have had no dc)ubt that he was praitor, and Rome 
a city, and that it was inhabited by citizens. But our friend 
is, as I said before, a manifest Stoic, though be talks a little 



But you are all afraid for me, lest I should descend to 
opiuious, and adopt and appi'ove of something that T do not 
understand ; which you would be very sorry for me to do. 
What advice do you give me 1 Chrysippus often testifies that 
there are three opinions only about the chief g'jod which can 
be defended ; he cuts off and discards all the rest. He says 
that either honour is the chief good, or pleasure, or both com- 
bined. For that those who say that the chief good is to be 
free from all annoyance, shun the unpopular name of pleasure, 
but hover about its neighbourhood. And those also do the 
same who combine that freedom from annoyance with honour. 
And those do not much difter from them who unite to honour 
the chief advantages of nature. So he leaves three opinions 
which he thinks may be maintained by probable arguments. 

Be it so. Although I am not easily to be moved from the 
definition of Polemo and the Peripatetics, and Antiochus, 
nor have I anything more probable to bring forward. Still, 
I see how sweetly pleasure allures our senses. I am inclined 
to agree with Epicurus or Aristippus. But virtue recals me, 
or rather leads me back with her hand; says that these are 
the feelings of cattle, and that man is akin to the Deity. I 
may take a middle course ; so that, since Aristippus, as if 
we had no mind, defends nothing but the body, and Zeno 
espouses the cause of the mind alone, as if we were destitute 
of body, I may follow Callipho, whose opinion Carneades used 
to defend with such zeal, that he appeared wholly to approve 
of it; although Clitomachus affirmed that he never could 
understand what Carneades approved of But if I were to 
choose to follow him, would not truth itself, and all sound 
and proper reason, oppose me ? Will you, when honour con- 
sists in despising pleasure, unite honour to pleasure, joining, 
as it were, a man to a beast? 

XLVI. There is now, then, only one pair of combatants 
left — pleasure and honour; between which Chrysippus, as far 
s'S I can see, was not long in perplexity how to decide. If 
^ou follow the one, many things are overthrown, especially 
the fellowship of the human race, affection, friendship, justice, 
and all other virtues, none of which can exist at all without 
disinterestedness : for the virtue which is impelled to action 
by pleasure, as by a sort of wages, is not really virtue, but 
only a deceitful imitation and pretence of virtue. Listen, on 


the conti-aiy, to those men who say that they do not even 
understand the name of honour, unless we call that honour- 
able which is accounted reputable by the multitude ; that the 
source of all good is in the body; that this is the law, and 
rule, and command of nature ; and that he who departs from 
it will never have any object in life to follow. Do you think, 
tlien, that I am not moved when I hear these and innumer- 
able other statements of the same kind 1 I am moved aa 
much as you are, Lucullus; and you need not think me less 
a man than yourself. The only difference is th&t you, when 
you are agitated, acquiesce, assent, and approve ; you consider 
the impression which you have received true, certain, com- 
prehended, perceived, established, firm, and unalterable ; and 
you cannot be moved or driven from it by any means what- 
ever. I think that there is nothing of such a kind that, if I 
assent to it, I shall not often be assenting to what is false ; 
since there is no distinct line of demarcation between what is 
true and what is false, especially as the science of dialectics 
has no power of judging on this subject. 

I come now to the third part of philosophy. There is an 
idea advanced by Protagoras, who thinks that that is true to 
each individual which seems so to him; and a completely 
different one put forward by the Cyrenaics, who think that 
there is no such thing as certain judgment about anything 
except the inner feelings : and a third, different from either, 
maintained by Epicurus, who places all judgment in the 
senses, and in our notions of things, and in pleasure. But 
Plato considered that the whole judgment of truth, and that 
truth itself, being abstracted from opinions and from the 
senses, belonged to the province of thought and of the intel- 
lect. Does our friend Antiochus approve of any of these 
principles ? He does not even approve of those who may be 
called his own aricestors in philosophy : for where does he 
follow Xenocrates, who has written a great many books on 
tlie method of speaking, which are highly esteemed 1 — or 
Aristotle himself, than whom there is no more acute or ele- 
gant writer 1 He never goes one step without Chrysippus. 

XLVII. Do we then, who are called Academics, misuse the 
glory of this name? or why are we to be compelled to follow 
those men who differ from one another 1 In this very thing, 
wliich the dialecticians teach among the elements of their art, 


how one ought to judge whether an argument be true or 
false which is connected in this manner, '• If it is day, it 
shines," how great a contest there is; — Diodorus has one 
opinion, Philo another, Chrysippus a third. Need I say 
more 1 In how many points does Chrysippus himself differ 
from Cleanthes, his own teacher ? Again, do not two of the 
very princes of the dialecticians, Antipater and Archidemus, 
men most devoted to hypothesis, disagi-ee in numbers of 
things 1 Why then, Lucullus, do you seek to bring me into 
odium, and drag me, as it were, before the assembly ? And 
why, as seditious tribunes often do, do you order all the shops 
to be shut? For what is your object when you complain that 
all trades are being suppressed by us, if it be not to excite the 
artisans 1 But, if they all come together from all quarters, 
they will be easily excited against you ; for, first of all, I will 
cite all those unpopular expressions of yours when you called 
all those, who will then be in the assembly, exiles, and slaves, 
and madmen : and then I will come to those arguments which 
touch not the multitude, but you yourselves who are here 
present. For Zeno and Antiochus both deny that any of you 
know anything. How so 1 you will say ; for we allege, on the 
other hand, that even a man without wisdom comprehends 
many things. But you afiirm that no one except a wise man 
knows one single thing. And Zeno professed to illustrate 
this by a piece of action; for when he stretched out his 
fingers, and showed the palm of his hand, " Perception," said 
he, " is a thing like this." Then, when he had a little closed 
his fingers, " Assent is like this." Afterwards, when he had 
completely closed his hand, and held forth his fist, that, he 
said, was comprehension. From which simile he also gave 
that state a name which it had not before, and called it 
KaT(iX.r]^L<;. But when he brought his left hand against his 
right, and with it took a firm and tight hold of his fist, 
knowledge, he said, was of that character ; and that was what 
none but a wise man possessed. But even those who are 
themselves wise men do not venture to say so, nor any one 
who has ever lived and been a wise man. According to that 
theory, you, Catulus, do not know that it is daylight; and 
you, Hortensius, are ignorant that we are now in your villa. 

Now, are these arguments less formidable than yours t 
They are not, perhaps, very refined j and those others shov» 


more acutcness. But, just as you said, tliat if nothing could 
be compreliended, all the arts were destroyed at once, aud 
would not grant that mere probalnlity was a sufficient foun- 
dation for art; so 1 now reply to you, that art cannot exist 
■without knowledge. Would Zeuxis, or Phidias, or Polycletua 
allow that they knew nothing, when they were men of such 
marvellous skill ? But if any one had explained to them how 
much power knowledge was said to have, they would cease to 
be angry; they would not even be offended with us, when 
they had learnt that we were only putting an end to what did 
not exist anywhere ; but that we left them what was quite 
sufficient for them. 

And this doctrine is confirmed also by the diligence of our 
ancestors, who ordained, in the first place, that every one 
should swear "according to the opinion of his own mind;" 
secondly, that he should be accounted guilty " if he know- 
ingly swore falsely," because there was a gi'eat deal of igno- 
rance in life ; thirdly, that the man who was giving his 
evidence should say that " he thought," even in a case where 
he was speaking of what he had actually seen himself. And that 
when the judges were giving their decision on their evidence, 
they should say, not that such and such a thing had been 
done, but that such and such a thing appeared to them. 

XLVIII. But since the sailor is making signals, and the 
west wind is showing us too, by its murmui', that it is time 
for us, Lucullus, to set sail, and since I have already said a 
great deal, I must now conclude. But hereafter, when we 
inquire into these subjects, we will discuss the great disagree- 
ments between the most eminent on the subject of the ob- 
scurity of nature, and the errors of so many philosophers who 
difier fi-om one another about good and evil so widely, that, 
as more than one of their theories cannot be true, it is 
inevitable that many illustrious schools must fall to the 
ground, rather than the theories about the false impressions 
of the eyes and the other senses, and sorites, or false syllo- 
gism, — rods which the Stoics have made to beat themselves 

Then Lucullus replied, I am not at all sorry that we have 
had this discussion ; for often, when we meet again, especially 
in our Tusculan villas, we can examine other questions which 
Beem worth iuvestigation. Certainly, said I; out what ioes 


Catulus think? and Hortensius? I? said Catulus. I return 
to my fathers opinion, which he used to say was derived 
from Carneades, and think that nothing can be perceived ; 
but still I imagine that a wise man will assent to what is not 
actually perceived — that is to say, will form opinions : being, 
however, aware at the same time that they are only opinions, 
and knowing that there is nothing which can be compre- 
hended and perceived. And, practising that eVo;^ so as to 
take probability for a guide in all things, I altogether assent 
to that other doctrine, that nothing can be perceived. I see 
your meaning, said I ; and I do not very much object to it. 
But what is your opinion, Hortensius? He laughed, and 
said, I suspend my judgment. I understand, said I ; for that 
is the peculiar principle of the Academy. 

So, after we had finished our discourse, Catulus remained 
behind, and we went down to the shore to embark in our 



The following treatise was composed by Cicero a little 
before the publication of his Tusculan Disputations. It con- 
sists of a series of Dialogues, in which the opinions of the 
different schools of Greek philosophy, especially the Epi- 
cureans, Stoics, and Peripatetics, on the Supreme Good, as the 
proper object or end (Jinis) of our thoughts and actions, are 
investigated and compared. It is usually reckoned one of 
the most highly finished and valuable of his philosophical 
works; though from the abstruse nature of some of the topics 
dwelt upon, and the subtlety of some of the arguments 
adduced, it is unquestionably the most difficult. 

He gives an account himself of the work and of his design 
and plan in the following terms. (Epist. ad Att. xiii. 19.) 
" What I have lately written is in the manner of Aristotle, 
where the conversation is so managed that he himself has the 
principal part. I have finished the five books De Finibus 
Bonorum et Malorum^ so as to give the Epicurean doctrine 


to Lucius Torquatus, the Stoic to Marcus Cato, aud the 
Peripatetic to Marcus Cato. For I considered that their 
being dead would preclude all jealousy." He does not, how- 
ever, maintain the unity of scene or character throughout the 
five books. In the first Iwok he relates a discussion which 
is represented as having taken place in his villa near Cumje. 
in the presence of Caius Valerius Triarius, between himself 
and Lucius Manlius Torquatus, who is spoken of as being 
just about to enter his office as prtetor, a circumstance which 
fixes the date of this imaginary discussion to B.C. 50, a time 
agi-eeing with the allusion (B. ii. 18,) to the great power of 
Pompey. In tlie first book he attacks the doctrines of the 
Epicurean school, and Torquatus defends them, alleging that 
tliey had been generally misunderstood ; aud in the second 
book Cicero enumerates the chief arguments with which the 
Stoics assailed them. 

In the third book the scene is laid in the library of 
Lucullus, where Cicero had accidentally met Cato ; and from 
conversing on the books by wdiich they were surrounded 
they proceeded to discuss the difference between the ethics 
of the Stoics, and those of the Old Academy aud the Peri- 
patetics ; Cicero insisting that the disagreement was merely 
verbal and not real, and that Zeno was wrong in leaving 
Plato and Aristotle and establishing a new school ; but Cato 
asserts, on the other hand, that the difference is a real one, 
and that the views held by the Stoics of the Supreme Good 
are of a much loftier and purer character than those which 
had been previously entertained. In the fourth bock Cicero 
gives us the arguments with which the philosophers of the 
New Academy assailed the Stoics. And this conversation ia 
supposed to have been held two years before that in the first 
book : for at the beginning of Book IV. there is a reference 
to the law for limiting the length of the speeches of counsel 
passed in the second consulship of Pompey, B.C. 55. as being 
Duly just passed. 

In the fifth book we are carried back to B.C. 79, and the 
scene is laid at Athens, where Cicero was at that time under 
Antiochus and Demetrius. He and his brother Quintus, 
Lucius Cicero his cousin, Pomponius Atticus, and Marcus 
Pupius Piso are represented as meeting in the Academia; 
and Pis), at the request of his companions, lays open tho 


precepts inculcated by Aristotle and his sclio(*l on the sub- 
ject of the Summum Bonum ; after which Cicero states the 
objections of the Stoics to the Peripatetic system, and Piso 
replies. While giving the opinions of these above-named 
sects with gi-eat fairness and impartiality Cicero abstains 
throughout from pronouncing any judgment of his own. 

I. I WAS not ignorant, Bnitus, when I was endeavouring to 
add to Latin literature the same things which philosophers 
of the most sublime genius and the most profound and accu- 
rate learning had previously handled in the Greek language, 
that my labours would be found fault with on various 
gi'ounds. For some, and those too, far from unlearned men, 
are disinclined to philosophy altogether; some, on the other 
liand, do not blame a moderate degree of attention being given 
to it, but do not approve of so much study and labour being 
devoted to it. There will be others again, leai-ned in Greek 
literature and despising Latin compositions, who will say that 
they would rather spend their time in reading Greek ; and, 
lastly, I suspect that there will be some people who will 
insist upon it that I ought to apply myself to other studies, 
and will urge that, although this style of writing may be an 
elegant accomplishment, it is still beneath my character and 
dignity. And to all these objections I think I ought to make 
a brief reply ; although, indeed, I have already given a suf- 
ficient answer to the enemies of philosophy in that book in 
which philosophy is defended and extolled by me after having 
been attacked and disparaged by Hortensius.' And as both 
you and others whom I considered competent judges approved 
highly of that book, I have undertaken a larger work, fear- 
ing to appear able only to excite the desires of men, but 
incapable of retaining their attention. But those who, 
though they have a very good opinion of philosophy, still 
tliink it should be followed in a moderate degi-ee only, re- 
quire a temperance which is very difficult in a thing which, 
when once it has the reins given it, cannot be checked or 
repressed ; so that I almost think those men more reasonable 
who altogether forbid us to apply ourselves to philosoj by at 
all, than they who fix a limit to things which are in their 
1 It is not even known to what work. Cicero is referring here. 


nature boundless, and who require mediocrity in a thing 
which is excellent exactly in proportion to its intensity 

For, if it be possible that men should arrive at wisdom, 
then it must not only be acquired by us, but even enjoyed. 
Or if this be difficult, still there is no limit to the way in 
which one is to seek for truth except one has found it ; and 
it is base to be wearied in seeking a thing, when what we do 
Beek for is the most honourable thing possible. In truth, if 
we are amused when we are writing, who is so envious as to 
wish to deny us that pleasure 1 If it is a labour to us, who 
will fix a limit to another person's industry? For as the 
Chremes ' of Terence docs not speak from a disregard of what 
is due to men when he does not wish his new neighboxir 

To di^, or plough, or any toil endure : 

for he is not in this dissuading him from industry, but only 
from such labour as is beneath a gentleman ; so, on the other 
hand those men are over scrupulous who are offended by my 
devoting myself to a labour which is far from irksome to 

II. It is more difficult to satisfy those men who allege 
that they despise Latin writings. But, first of all, I may 
express my wonder at their not being pleased with their 
native language in matters of the highest importance, when 
they are fond enough of reading fables in Latin, translated 
word for word from the Greek. For what man is such an 
enemy (as I may almost call it) to the Roman name, as to 
despise or reject the Medea of Ennius, or the Antiope of 
Pacuvius? and to express a dislike of Latin literature, while 
at the same time he speaks of being pleased with the plays of 
Euripides 1 " What,'' says such an one, " shall I rather read 
the Synephebi of Ca^cilius,' or the Andria of Terence, than 
either of these plays in the original of I^Ienander 1 " But I 
disagree with men of these opinions so entirely, that though 

> In the Hcautontimorumenos. Act i. Sc. 1. 

^ Uaecilius Statius was the predecessor of Terence ; by birth an 
Insubrian Gaul and a native of Milan. He died b c. 165, two year? 
Defore the representation of the Andria of Terence. He was considered 
Dy the Romans as a great master of the art of exciting the feelings. 
And Cicero (de Opt. Gen. Die. 1.) speaks of him as the chief of thi 
Roman Comic writers. Horace says — 

Yincere Cixcilius gravitate, Terentius arte. 


Sjphocled lias composed an Electra in the most adminible 
manner possible, still T think the indifierent translation of it 
bv Atilius' worth reading too, though Licinius calls him an 
iron writei ; with much truth in my opinion ; still he is a 
writer wham it is worth while to read. For to be wholly 
unacquainted with our own poets is a proof either of the 
laziest indolence, or else of a very superfluous fastidiousness. 
My own opinion is, that no one is sufficiently learned who 
is not well versed in the works written in our own language. 
Shall we not be as willing to read — 

Would that the pine, the pride of Pelion's brow, 
as the same idea when expressed in Greek 1 And is there 
anv objection to having the discussions which have been set 
(lut by Plato, on the subject of living well and happily, arrayed 
in a Latin dress? And if we do not limit oureelves to the 
office of translators, but maintain those arguments which 
have been advanced by people with whom we argue, and add 
to them the exposition of our own sentiments, and clothe the 
whole in our own language, why then should people prefer the 
writings of the Greeks to those things which are written by us 
in an elegant style, without being translated from the works of 
(ireek philosophers 1 For if they say that these matters have 
lieen discussed by those foreign writers, then there surely is 
no necessity for their reading such a number of those Greeks 
as they do. For what article of Stoic doctrine has been 
passed over by Chiysippus? And yet we read also Diogenes,^ 
Autipater,3 Mnesarchus,* Pansetius,' and many others, and 

' Marcus Atilius, (though Cicero speaks of him here as a tragediau,) 
was chiefly celebrated as a comic poet. He was one of the earliest 
writers of that class ; but nothing of his has come down to us. In 
another place Cicero calls him " duris simusscriptor." (Epist. ad 
Att. xiv. 20.) 

^ Diogenes was a pupil of Chrj'sippus, and succeeded Zeno of Tarsus 
as the head of the Stoic school at Athens. He was one of the embassy 
sent to Rome by the Athenians, B.C. 155, and is supposed to have died 
almost immediately afterwards. 

^ .\ntipater was a native of Tarsus, and the pupil and successor 
of Diogenes. Cicero speaks in very high terms of his genius. 
(De Off. iii. 12.) 

* Mnesarchus was a pupil of Pansetius and the teacher of Antiochus 
of Ascalon. 

* Panaetius was a Rliodian, a pupil of Diogenes and Antipater, 
which last he succeeded as head of the Stoic school. He was a friend 
of P. Scipio jEmilianus, and accompanied him on his embassy to the 
kings of Egypt and Asia in alliance with Rome. He died before b.c. 111. 



especially the works of my own personal friend Posidcmius.' 
What sliall we say of Theophrastus ? Is it but a nioderato 
pleasure which he imjjarts to us while ho is handling tlie 
topics wdiich had been previously dilated on by Aristotle ? 
What shall we say of the Epicureans 1 Do they pass ovci 
the subjects on which Ej)icurus himself and other ancient 
writers have previously written, and forbear to deliver their 
sentiments respecting them 1 But if Greek authors are read 
by the Greeks, though discussing the same subjects over and 
over again, because they deal with them in diiFerent manners, 
why should not the writings of Roman authors be also read 
by our own countrymen 1 

' III. Although if I were to translate Plato or Aristotle in 
as bold a manner as our poets have translated the Greek 
plays, then, I suppose, I should not deserve well at the hands 
of my fellow-countrymen, for having brought those divine 
geniuses within their reach. However, that is not what I 
have hitherto done, though I do not consider myself inter- 
dicted from doing so. Some particular passages, if I think it 
desirable, I shall translate, especially from those authors 
whom I liave just named, when there is an opportunity of 
doing so with propriety; just as Ennius often translates 
passages from Homer, and Afranius^ from Menander. Nor 
will I, like Lucilius, make any objection to everybody reading 
my writings. I should be glad to have that Persius'' for one 
of my readers; and still more to have Scipio and Rutilius; 

1 Poi^idonius was a native of Apamea, in Egypt, a pupil of Pansetius, 
and a contemporary of Cicero. He came to Rome b.c. 51, liavingbeen 
sent there as ambassador from Rhodes in the time of Marius. 

•-' Lucius Afranius lived about 100 b.c. His comedies were chiefiy 
togahe, depicting Roman Hfe ; be borrowed largely from Jlenander, to 
whom the Romans compared him. Horace says — 

Dicitur Afrani toga convenisse Menandro. 
Cicero praises his language highly (Brut. 45). 

3 Caius Lucilius was the earliest of the Roman satirists, born at 
Suessa Aurunca, b.c. 148 ; he died at Naples, b.c. 103. He served under 
Scipio in the Numantine war. He was a very vehement and bold 
satirist. Cicero alludes here to a saying of his, which he mentions 
more expressly (De Orat. ii.), that he did not wish the ignorant to read 
his works because they could not understand them : nor the learned 
l)ecause they would be able to criticise them. 

I'ersium non euro legere : Lwlium Decimum volo. 
This Per.sius being a very learned man ; in comparison with whom Loelius 
was an ignoramus. 


men whose criticism he professed to fear, saying that he wrote 
for the people of Tai-eutum, aucl Consentia, and Sicily. That 
was all very witty of him, and in his usual style ; but still, 
people at that time were not so learned as to give him cause 
to labour much before he could encounter their judgnient, 
and his writings are of a lightish character, showing indeed, 
a high degree of good breeding, but only a moderate quantity 
of learning. But whom can I fear to have read my works 
when I ventured to address a book to you, who are not in- 
ferior to the Greeks themselves in philosophical knowledge ? 
Although I have this excuse for what I am doing, that I have 
been challenged by you, in that to me most acceptable book 
which you sent me " On Virtue." 

But I imagine that some people have become accustomed 
to feel a repugnance to Latm wi-iting because they have 
fiillen in with some unpolished and inelegant treatises trans- 
lated from bad Greek into worse Latin. And with those men 
I agree, provided they will not think it worth while to read 
the Greek books written on the same subject. But who would 
object to read works on important subjects expressed in well- 
selected diction, with dignity and elegance ; unless, indeed, 
lie wishes to be taken absolutely for a Greek, as Albucius was 
siiluted at Athens by Scicvola, when he was prsetor 1 And 
this topic has been handled by that same Lucilius with great 
elegance and abundant wit ; where he represents Sctevoia as 

You have preferr'd, Albucius, to be call'd 

A Greek much rather than a Roman citizen 

Or Sal)ine, countryman of Pontius, 

Tritannius, and the brave centurions 

And standard-bearers of immortal fame. 

So now at Athens, I, the prretor, thus 

Salute you as you wish, whene'er I see you, 

With Greek address, Ss xoi'pf noble Titus, 

Ye lictors, and attendants x°'tp^'''f- 

Si x"*p« noble Titus. From this day 

The great Albucius was my enemy. 

But surely Scsevola was right. However, I can never su.- 
ficiently express my wonder whence this arrogant disdain of 
everything national arose among us. This is not exactly the 
place for lecturing on the subject; but my own feelings are, 
and I have constantly urged them, that the Latin language 
is not only not deficient, so as to deserve to be generally 



disparaged ; bvtt that it is even more copious than tlic Greek. 
For wlien have either we ourselves, or when has any good 
orator or noble poet, at least after there was any one for him 
to imitate, found himself at a loss for any richness or orna- 
ment of diction with which to set off his sentiments ? 

IV. And I myself (as I do not think that I can be accused 
of havmg. in my forensic exertions, and labours, and dangers; 
deserted the post in which I was stationed by the Roman 
people,) am bound, forsooth, to exert myself as much as 
I can to render my fellow-countrymen more learned by my 
labours and studies and diligence, and not so much to con- 
tend with those men who prefer reading Greek works, pro- 
vided that they really do read them, and do not only pretend 
to do so ; and to fall in also with the wishes of those men 
who are desirous either to avail themselves of both languages, 
or who, as long as they have good works in their own, do 
not care very much about similar ones in a foreign tongue. 
But those men who would rather that I would write on 
other topics should be reasonable, because I have already 
composed so many works that no one of my countrymen 
has ever published more, and perhaps I shall write even 
more if my life is prolonged so as to allow me to do so. And 
yet, whoever accustoms himself to read with care these things 
which I am now writing on the subject of philosophy, will 
come to the conclusion that no works are better worth read- 
ino' than these. For what is there in life which deserves to 
be° investigated so diligently as every subject which belongs 
to philosophy, and especially that which is discussed in this 
treatise, namely, what is the end, the object, the standard to 
which all the ideas of living well and acting rightly are to be 
referred 1 What it is that nature follows as the chief of all 
desirable things 1 wliat she avoids as the principal of all evils ? 

And as on this subject there is great difference of opinion 
among the most learned men, who can think it inconsistent 
with that dignity which every one allows to belong to me, to 
examine what is in every situation in life the best and truest 
good 1 Shall the chief men of the city, Publius Sctevola and 
Marcus ]\Ianiliiis argue whether the offspring of a female 
slave ought to bi^ considered the gain of the master of the 
slave; and shall iNIarcus Brutus express his dissent from their 
opinion, (and this is a kind of discussion giving gi-eat room 


for the display of acuteness, and one too that is of import- 
ance as I'cgards the citizens,) and do we read, and sliall we 
continue to read, with pleasure their writings on this subject, 
and the others of the same sort, and at the same time neglect 
these subjects, which embrace the whole of human life? There 
may, perhaps, be more money affected by discussions on that 
legal point, but beyond all question, this of ours is the more 
important subject : that, however, is a point which the 
readers may be left to decide upon. But we now think that 
this whole question about the ends of good and evil is, I may 
almost say, thoroughly explained in this treatise, in which we 
have endeavoured to set forth as far as we could, not only 
what oiu' own opinion was, but also everything which has 
been advanced by each separate school of pliilosophy. 

V. To begin, however, with that which is easiest, we will 
first of all take the doctrine of Epicurus, which is well known 
to most people ; and you shall sec that it is laid down by us 
in such a way that it cannot be explained more accurately 
even by the adherents of that sect themselves. For we are 
desirous of ascertaining the truth ; not of convicting some 

But the opinion of Epicurus about pleasure was formerly 
defended with gi-eat precision by Lucius Torquatus, a man 
accomplished in every kind of learning ; and I myself replied 
to him, while Caius Triarius, a most learned and worthy 
young man, was present at the discussion. For as it hap- 
pened that both of them had come to my villa near Cumse 
to pay me a visit, first of all we conversed a little about lite- 
rature, to which they were both of them gi-eatly devoted; and 
after a while Torquatus said — Since we have found you in 
some degree at leisure, I should like much to hear from you 
why it is that you, I will not say hate our master Epicurus — 
as most men do who differ from him in opinion — but still why 
you disagree with him whom I consider as the only mr„n who 
has discerned the real truth, and who I think has delivered 
the minds of men from the greatest errors, and has handed 
down every precept which can have any influence on making 
men live well and ha])pi]y. But I imagine that you, like my 
friend Triarius here, like liim the less because he neglected the 
ornaments of diction in which Plato, and Aristotle, and 
Theophrastus indulged. For I can hardly be persuaded to 


oclieve that tne opinions which he entertained do not appear 
to you to be correct. See now, said I, how for you are mis- 
taken, Torquatus. I am not offended with the language of that 
philosopher ; for he expresses his meaning openly and speaks in 
plain language, so that I can understand him. Not, however, 
that I should object to eloquence in a philosopher, if he were 
to tliink fit to employ it ; though if he were not possessed of it 
I should not require it. But I am not so well satisfied with 
his matter, and that too on many topics. But there are aa 
many different opinions as there are men ; and therefore we 
may be in error ourselves. What is it, said he, in which you 
are dissatisfied with him 1 For I consider you a candid judge; 
provided only that you are accurately acquainted with what 
he has really said. Unless, said I, you think that Pluedrus 
or Zeno have spoken falsely (and I have heard them both 
lecture, though they gave me a high opinion of nothing but 
their own diligence,) all the doctrines of Epicurus are quite 
sufficiently known to me. And I have repeatedly, in company 
with my fi'iend Atticus, attended the lectures of those men 
whom I have named ; as he had a great admiration for both 
of them, and an especial affection even for Phtedrus. And every 
day we used to talk over what we heard, nor was there ever 
any dispute between us as to whether I understood the scope 
of their arguments ; but only whether I approved of them. 

VI. What is it, then, said he, which you do not approve of 
in them, for I am very anxious to hear ? In the first place, said 
I, he is utterly wrong in natural philosophy, which is his prin- 
cipal boast. He only makes some additions to the doctrine 
of Democritus, altering very little, and that in such a way 
that he seems to me to make those points worse which he 
endeavours to correct. He believes that atoms, as he calls 
them, that is to say bodies which by reason of their solidity 
are indivisible, are borne about in an interminable vacuum, 
destitute of any highest, or lowest, or middle, or furthest, or 
nearest boundary, iu such a manner that by their concourse 
they cohere together; by which cohesion everything which 
exists and which is seen is formed. And he thinks that 
motion of atoms should be undei'stood never to have had a 
beginning, but to have subsisted fi'om all eternity. 

But in those matters in which Epicin-us follows Democritus, 
lie is usually not very wrong. Altliough there are many 


assertions of each with which I disagree, and especially with 
this — that as in the nature of things there are two points 
which must be inquired into, — one, what the material out of 
whicli everything is made, is; the other, what the power is 
wliich makes everything, — they discussed only the material, 
and omitted all consideration of the efficient power and cause. 
However, that is a fault common to both of them; but these 
blunders which T am going to mention are Epicurus's own. 

For he thinks that those indivisible and solid bodies are 
borne downwards by their own weight in a straight line ; and 
that this is the natural motion of all bodies. After this 
assertion, that shrewd man, — as it occurred to him, that if 
everything were borne downwards in a straight line, as I have 
just said, it would be qiiite impossible for one atom ever to 
touch another, — on this account he introduced another purely 
imaginary idea, and said that the atoms diverged a little from 
the straight line, which is the most impossible thing m the 
world. And he asserted that it is in this way that all those 
embraces, and conjunctions, and unions of the atoms with one 
another took place, by which the world was made, and all the 
parts of the world, and all that is in the world. And not 
only is all this idea perfectly childish, but it fails in effecting 
its object. For this very divergence is invented in a most 
capricious manner, (for he says that each atom diverges with- 
out any cause,) though nothing can be more discreditable to 
a natural philosopher than to say that anything takes place 
without a cause; and also, without any reason, he deprives 
atoms of tliat motion which is natural to every body of any 
weight (as he himself lays it down) which goes downwai'ds 
from the upper regions; and at the same time he does not 
obtain the end for the sake of which he invented all these 

For if every atom diverges equally, still none will ever 
meet with one another so as to cohere ; but if some diverge, 
and others are borne straight down by their natural inclina- 
tion, in the first place this will be distributing provinces as it 
wei'e among the atoms, and dividing them so that some are 
borne down straight, and others obliquely; and in the next 
place, this turbulent concourse of atoms, which is a blunder 
of Democritus also, will never be able to produce tliis beauti- 
fully ornamented world which we see around us. Even this. 


too, is inconsistent with the principles of natural philosophy^ 
to believe that there is such a thing as a minimum; a thing 
which he indeed never would have fancied, if he had been 
willing to learn geometry from his friend Pulyajnus,' instead 
of seeking to persuade him to give it up himself 

The sun appears to Democritus to be of vast size, as he is 
a man of lerrning and of a profound knowledge of geometry. 
Epicurus jjerhaps thinks that it is two feet across, for he thinks 
it of just that size wluch it apjjears to be, or perhaps a little 
larger or smaller. So what he changes he spoils; what he 
accepts comes entirely from Democritus, — the atoms, the 
vacuum, the appearances, which they call ctowXa, to the in- 
roads of which it is owing not only that we see, but also that 
we think ; and all that infiniteness, which they call dTretpta, 
is borrowed from Democritus; and also the innumerable 
worlds which are produced and perish every day. And 
although I cannot possibly agree myself with all those fancies, 
still I should not like to see Democritus, who is praised by 
every one else, blamed by this man who has followed him 

VII. And as for the second part of philosophy, which 
belongs to investigating and discussing, and which is called 
\oyLKii, there your master as it seems to me is wholl}' unarmed 
and defenceless. He abolishes definitions; he lays down no 
rules for division and partition; he gives no method for 
drawing conclusions or establishing principles; he does not 
point out how captious objections may be refuted, or ambi- 
guous terms explained. He places all oxu" judgments of 
things in our senses; and if they are once led to approve of 
anything false as if it were true, then he thinks that there is 
an end to all our power of distinguishing between ti'uth and 

But in the third part, which relates to life and manners, 
with resj^ect to establishing the end of our actions, he utters 
not one single generous or noble sentiment. He lays down 
above all otiiers :he principle, that nature has but two things 
as objects of adoption and aversion, namely, pleasure and pain: 

' Polyaenus, the son of Athenodorus was a native of Lampsacus : he 
■was a friend of Epicurus, and thougii he had previously otitained a high 
reputation as a mathemaiieian, he was persuaded by him at last tc 
ayreo with him aa to the worthlessness of geometry. 


nrd he refcn-s all uiir pursuits, and all our desires to a^-oid 
anything, to one of these two heads. And although this is 
the doctrine of Aristippus, and is maintained in a better 
manner and with more freedom by the Cyrenaics, still I think 
it a principle of such a kind that nothing can appear more 
unworthy of a man. For, in my opinion, nature has produced 
and formed us for greater and higher purposes. It is possible, 
indeed, that I may be mistaken; but my opinion is decided 
that that Torquatus, who first acquired that name, did not 
tear the chain from off his enemy for the purpose of pro- 
cui'ing any corjioreal pleasure to himself; and that he did not, 
in his third consulship, fight with the Latins at the foot of 
Mount Vesuvius for the sake of any personal pleasure. And 
when he caused his son to be executed, lie appears to have 
even deprived himself of many pleasures, by thus preferring 
the claims of his dignity and command to nature herself and 
the dictates of fatherly affection. "What need I say more '? 
Take Titus Torquatus, him I mean who was consul with 
Cnseus Octaviusj when he behaved with such severity towards 
that son whom he had allowed Decimus Silanus to adopt as 
his own, as to command him, when the ambassadors of the 
Macedonians accused him of having taken bribes in his 
province while he was prsetor, to plead his cause before his 
tribunal : and, when he had heard the cause on both sides, 
to pronounce that he had not in his command behaved after 
the fashion of his forefathers, and to forbid him ever to 
appear in his sight again ; does he seem to you to have given 
a thought to his own pleasure 1 

However, to say nothing of the dangers, and labours, and 
even of the pain which every virtuous man willingly en- 
counters on behalf of his country, or of his family, to such a 
degi-ee that he not only does not seek for, but even disregards 
all pleasures, and prefers even to endure any pain whatever 
rather than to forsake any part of his duty ; let us come to 
IMose things which show this equally, but which appear of 
loss importance. What pleasure do you, Torqi;atus, what 
pleasure does this Triarius derive from literature, and history, 
and the knowledge of events, and the reading of poets, 
and his wonderful recollection of such numbers of vei'ses 1 
And do not say to me, Why all these things are a pleasure to 
m<5. So, too, were those noble actions to the Torquati. 


Epicimis never asserts this in this manner; nor would yoiL 
Triarius, nor any man who had any wisdom, cr who had 
ever imbibed those principles. And as to the question which 
is often asked, wiiy there are so many Epicureans — there are 
several reasons ; but this is the one which is most seductive 
to the multitude, namely, that people imagine that what he 
asserts is that those things which are right and honourable 
do of themselves produce joy, that is, pleasure. Those excel- 
lent men do not perceive that the whole system is overtm-ned 
if that is the case. For if it were once gi'auted, even although 
there were no I'eference whatever to the body, that these 
things were naturally and intrinsically pleasant; then virtue 
and knowledge would be intrinsically desirable. And this is 
the last thing which he would choose to admit. 

These principles, then, of Epicurus, I say, I do not approve 
of. As for other matters, I wish either that he himself had 
been a greater master of learning, (for he is, as you yourself 
cannot help seeing, not sufficiently accomplished in those 
branches of knowledge which men possess who are accounted 
leai-ned,) or at all events that he had not deterred others from 
the study of literature : although I see that you yourself 
have not been at all deterred from such pursuits by him. 

YIII. And when I had said this, more for the purpose of 
exciting him than of speaking myself, Triarius, smiling gently, 
Baid, — You, indeed, have almost entii-ely expelled Epicurus 
from the number of philosophers. For what have you left 
him except the assertion that, whatever his language might 
be, you understood what he meant 1 He has in natural 
philosophy said nothing but what is bon-owed from othei-s, 
and even then nothing which you approved of. If he has 
tried to amend anything he has made it worse. He had no 
skill whatever in disputing. When he laid down the rule 
that pleasure was the chief good, in the first place he was 
very short-sighted in making such an assertion ; and secondly", 
even this very doctrine was a borrowed one ; for Aristippus 
had said the same thing before, and better too. You added, 
at last, that he was also destitute of learning. 

It is quite impossible, Triarius, 1 replied, for a person not 
to state what he disapproves of in the theory of a man witii 
whom he disagrees. For what could hinder me from being 
an Epicurean if I approved of what l-^picurus says ? especially 


when it -would be an amusement to learn his doctrines. 
Wherefore, a man is not to be blamed for reproving those who 
differ from one another; but evil speaking, contumely, ill- 
temper, contention, and pertinacious violence in disputing, 
generally appear to me quite unworthy of philosophy. 

I quite agree with you, said Torquatusj for one cannot 
dispute at all without finding fault with your antagonist j but 
on the other hand you cannot dispute properly if you do so 
with ill-temper or with pertinacity. But, if you have no 
objection, I have an answer to make to these assertions cf 
yom-s. Do you suppose, said I, that 1 should have said what 
I have said if I did not desire to hear what you had to say 
too"? Would you like then, says he, that I should go through 
the whole theory of Epicurus, or that we should limit our 
present iuquiiy to pleasure by itself; which is what the 
whole of the present dispute relates to ? We will do, said I, 
whichever you please. That then, said he, shall be my present 
course. I will explain one matter only, being the most im- 
portant one. At another time I will discuss the question of 
natural philosophy; and I will prove to you the theory of 
the divergence of the atoms, and of the magnitude of the 
sun, and that Democritus committed many errors which were 
found faidt with and corrected by Epicurus. At present, I 
will conhne myself to pleasure; not that I am saying any- 
thing new, but still I will adduce arguments which I feel 
sme that even you yourself will approve of. Undoubtedly, 
said I, I will not be obstinate; and I will willingly agree 
with you if you will only prove your assertions to my satis- 
faction. I will prove them, said he, provided only that you 
are as impartial as you profess yom-self : but I would rather 
employ a connected discourse than keep on asking or being 
asked questions. As you please, said I. 

On this he began to speak ; — 

IX. First of all then, said he, I will proceed in the manner 
which is sanctioned by the founder of this school : I will lay 
down what that is which is the subject of our inquiry, and 
what its character is : not that I imagine that you do not 
know, but in order that my discourse may proceed in a sys- 
tematic and orderly manner. We are inquiring, then, what 
is the end, — what is the extreme point of good, which, in tho 
:pinion of all philosophers, ought to be such that eveiything 


can be referred to it, but that it itself can be referred to 
nothing. This Epicurus places in pleasure, which he arguea 
is the chief good, and tliat pain is the chief evil ; and he pro- 
ceeds to prove his assertion thus. He says that every animal 
the moment that it is born seeks for pleasure, and rejoices in 
it as the chief good; and rejects pain as the chief evil, and 
wards it off from itself as far as it can ; and that it acts in 
this manner, without having been corrupted by anything, 
under the promptings of nature herself, who forms this uncor- 
rupt and upright judgment. Therefore, he affirms that there 
is no need of argument or of discussion as to why ple;isure is 
to be sought for, and pain to be avoided. This he thinks a 
matter of sense, just as much as that fire is hot, snow white, 
honey sweet ; none of which propositions he thinks require to 
be confirmed by laboriously sought reasons, but that it is 
sufficient merely to state them. For that there is a difference 
between arguments and conclusions arrived at by ratiocina- 
tion, and ordinary observations and statements : — by the first, 
secret and obscure principles are explained ; by the second, 
matters which are plain and easy are brought to decision. 
For since, if you take away sense from a man, there is nothing 
left to him, it follows of necessity that what is contrary to 
nature, or what agrees with it, must be left to nature herself 
to decide. Now what does she perceive, or what does she 
determine on as her guide to seek or to avoid anything, 
except pleasure and pain 1 But there are some of our school 
who seek to carry out this doctrine with more acuteness, and 
who w^ill not allow that it is sufficient that it should be 
decided by sense what is good and what is bad, but who 
assert that these points can be ascertained by intellect and 
reason also, and that pleasure is to be sought for on its own 
account, and that pain also is to be avoided for the same 

Therefore, they say that this notion is implanted in our 
minds naturally and instinctively, as it were; so that vi-efeei 
that the one is to be sought for, and the other to be avoided. 
Others, however, (and this is my own opinion too,) assert 
that, as many reasons are alleged by many philosophers why 
pleasure ought not to be reckoned among goods, nor paia 
among evils, we ought not to rely too much on the goodness 
of our cause, but that we should use arguments, and discuss 


the point with precision, and argue, by the help of carefully 
collected reasons, about pleasure and about pain. 

X. But that you may come to an accurate perception of 
the source whence all this error originated of those people 
who attack pleasure and extol pain, I will unfold the whole 
matter; and I will lay before you the very statements which 
have been made by that discoverer of the tmth, and architect, 
as it were, of a happy life. For no one either despises, or 
hates, or avoids pleasure itself merely because it is pleasure, 
but because great pains overtake those men who do not 
understand how to pursue pleasure in a reasonable manner. 
Nor is there any one who loves, or pm-sues, or wishes to 
acquire pain because it is pain, but because sometimes such 
occasions arise that a man attains to some great pleasure 
through labour and pain. For, to descend to trifles, who of 
us ever undertakes any laborious exertion of body except in 
order to gain some advantage by so doing 1 and who is there 
who could fairly blame a man who should wish to be in that 
state of pleasure which no annoyance can interrupt, or one 
who shuns that pain by which no subseqi;ent pleasure is pro- 
cured? But we do accuse those men, and think them entirely 
worthy of the gi-eatest hatred, who, being made effeminate 
and corrupted by the allurements of present pleasure, are so 
blinded by passion that they do not foresee what pains and 
annoyances they will hereafter be subject to; and who are 
equally guilty with those who, through weakness of mind, 
that is to say, from eagerness to avoid labour and pain, desert 
their duty. 

And the distinction between these tilings is quick and 
easy. For at a time when we are free, when the option of 
choice is in our own power, and when there is nothing to 
prevent our being able to do whatever we choose, then every 
pleasure may be enjoyed, and every pain repelled. But on 
particular occasions it will often happen, owing either to the 
obligations of duty or the necessities of business, that plea- 
sures must be declined and annoyances must not be shirked. 
Therefore the wise man holds to this principle of choice in 
those matters, that he rejects some pleasures, so as, by the 
rejection, to obtain others which are gi-eater, and encounters 
some pains, so as by that means to escape others which are 
more formidable. 


Now, as these are my sentiments, what reason can 1 have 
for fearing that I may not be able to accommodate our 
Torqnati to them — men wliose examples you just now quoted 
from memory, with a kind and friendly feeling towards us 1 
However, you have not bribed me by praising my ancestors, 
..or made me less prompt in replying to you. But I should 
like to know from you how you interpret their actions 1 Do 
yon think that they attacked the enemy with such feelings, 
or that they wei'c so severe to their children and to their own 
bloixi as to have no thought of their own advantage, or of 
what might be useful to tliemselves 1 But even wild beasts 
do not do that, and do not rush about and cause confusion in 
sucli a way that we cannot understand what is the object of 
their motions. And do you think that such illustrious men 
performed such great actions without a reason 1 What their 
reason was I will examine presently ; in the meantime I will 
lav down this rule, — If there was any reason which instigated 
them to do those things which are undoubtedly splendid 
exploits, then virtue by herself was not the sole cause of their 
conduct. One man tore a chain from off his enemy, and at 
the same time he defended himself from being slain ; but he 
encountered great danger. Yes, but it was before the eyes of 
the whole army. What did he get by that 1 Glory, and the 
affection of his countrymen, which are the surest bulwarks to 
enable a man to pass his life without fear. He put his son to 
death by the hand of the executioner. If he did so without 
any reason, then I sliould be sorry to be descended from so 
inhuman and merciless a man. But if his object was to 
establish miUtary discipline and obedience to command, at 
the price uf his own anguish, and at a time of a most for- 
midable war to restrain his army by the fear of punishment, 
then he was providing for the safety of his fellow-citizens, 
which he was well aware embraced his own. And this prin- 
ciple is one of extensive application. For the very point 
respecting which your whole school, and yourself most espe- 
cially, who are such a diligent investigator of ancient in- 
stances, are in the habit of vaunting yoxu-self and using high- 
flown language, namely, the mention of brave and iUustrioua 
men, and the extolling of their actions, as proceeding not 
from any regard to advantage, but from pure principles of 
honour and a love of glory, is entirely upset, when once that 


rule in the choice of things is estabhshed which T mentioned 
just now, — namely, that pleasm'es are passed over for the 
sake of obtaining other greater pleasures, or that pains are 
encountered with a view to escape greater pains. 

XI. But, however, for the present we have said enough 
about the illustrious and glorious actions of celebrated men ; 
for there will be, hereafter, a very appropriate place for dis- 
cussing the tendency of all the virtues to procure pleasiu'e. 

But, at present, I will explain what pleasm'e itself is, and 
what its character is; so as to do away with all the mistakes 
of ignorant people, and in order that it may be clearly 
understood how dignified, and temperate, and virtuous that 
system is, which is often accounted voluptuous, effeminate, 
and delicate. For we are not at present pursuing that 
pleasure alone which moves nature itself by a certain sweet- 
ness, and which is perceived by the senses with a certain 
pleasurable feeling; but we consider that the greatest of all 
pleasures which is felt when all pain is removed. For since, 
when we are free from pain, we rejoice in that very freedom 
self, and in the absence of all annoyance, — but everything 
which is a cause of our rejoicing is pleasure, just as every- 
thing that gives us oflFence is pain, — accordingly, the ab- 
sence of all pain is rightly denominated pleasure. For, as 
when hunger and thirst arc driven away by meat and drink, 
the very removal of the annoyance brings with it the attain- 
ment of pleasure, so, in every case, the removal of pain pro- 
duces the succession of pleasure. And therefore Fpicurua 
would not admit that there was any intermediate state be- 
tween pleasure and pain; for he insisted that that very state 
which seems to some people the intermediate one, when a man 
is free from every sort of pain, is not only pleasure, but the 
highest sort of pleasure. For whoever feels how he is affected 
must inevitably be either in a state of pleasure or in a state 
of pain. But Epicurus thinks that the highest pleasure con- 
sists in an absence of all pains ; so that pleasure may after- 
wards be varied, and may be of different kinds, but cannot be 
increased or amplified. 

And even at Athens, as I have heard my father say, when 
he was jesting in a gX)od-hTmioured and facetious way upon 
the Stoics, there is a statue in the Ceramicus of Chrysippus, 
fitting down with lu& liand K^mi-ched out ; and this attitude 


of the hand intimtites that he is amusing himself with this 
brief question, " Does your liand, while in that condition in 
■which it is at present, want anything?" — Nothing at all. 
But if pleasure were a good, would it want it ? I suppose so. 
Pleasure, then, is not a good. And my ftither used to say that 
even a statue would not say this if it could speak. For the 
conclusion was drawn as against the Stoics with sufficient 
acuteness, hut it did not concern Epicurus. For if that were 
the only pleasure which tickled the senses, as it were, if I 
may say so, and which oveiilowed and penetrated them with 
a certain agreeable feeling, then even a hand could not be 
content with freedom from pain without some pleasing mo- 
tion of pleasure. But if the highest jileasure is, as Epicunis 
asserts, to be free from pain, then, Chrysippus, the first 
admission was correctly made to you, that the hand, when it 
was in that condition, was in want of nothing; but the second 
admission was not equally correct, that if pleasure were a 
good it would wish for it. For it would not wish for it for 
this reason, inasmuch as whatever is free from pain is in 

XII. Bnt that pleasure is the boundary of all good things 
may be easily seen from this consideration. Let us imagine 
a j)erson enjoying pleasures gi-eat, numerous, and perpetual, 
both of mind and body, with no pain either inteiTupting him 
at pi'esent or impending over him ; what condition can we call 
supei'ior to or more desirable than this? For it is inevitable 
that there must be in a man who is in this condition a firm- 
ness of mind which fears neither death nor pain, because 
death is void of all sensation ; and pain, if it is of long dm-a- 
tion, is a trifle, while if severe it is usually of brief dm'ation ; 
so that its brevity is a consolation if it is violent, and its 
trifling nature if it is enduring. And when there is added to 
these circumstances that such a man has no fear of the deity 
of the gods, and does not suff"er past pleasures to be entirely 
lost, but delights himself with the continued recollection of 
them, what can be added to this which will be any improve- 
ment to it ? 

Imagine, on the other ha^ any one worn out with the 
gi'eatest pains of mind and body which can possibly befal a 
man, without any hope being held out to him that they will 
hereafter be lighter, when, besides, he has no pleasure whatever 


either present or expected ; what can be spoken of or imagined 
more miserable than this 1 But if a life entirely filled with 
pains is above all things to be avoided, then certainly that is 
the greatest of evils to live in pain. And akin to this senti- 
ment is the other, that it is the most extreme good to live 
with pleasure. For our mind has no other point where it can 
stop as at a boundary ; and all fears and distresses are refer- 
able to pain : nor is there anything whatever besides, which 
of its own intrinsic nature can make us anxious or grieve us. 
Moreover, the beginnings of desiring and avoiding, and indeed 
ultogether of everything which we do, take their rise either in 
pleasure or pain. And as this is the case, it is plain that 
everything which is light and laudable has reference to this 
one object of living with pleasiu'e. And since that is the 
highest, or extreme, or greatest good, which the Greeks call 
rt'Ao?, because it is referred to nothing else itself, but every- 
tliing is referred to it, we must confess that the highest good 
is to live agreeably. 

XIII. And those who place this in virtue alone, and, being 
caught by the splendour of a name, do not understand what 
nature requires, will be delivered from the greatest blunder 
imaginable if they will I'sten to Epicurus. For unless those 
excellent and beautiful virtues which your school talks about 
produced pleasure, who would think them either praiseworthy 
or desirable ? For as we esteem the skill of physicians not for 
the sake of the art itself, but from our desire for good health, — 
and as the skill of tlie pilot, who has the knowledge how to 
niivigate a vessel well, is praised with reference to its utility, 
and not to his ability, — so wisdom, which should be con- 
sidered the art of living, would not be sought after if it 
eftected nothing ; but at present it is sought after because it 
is, as it were, the efficient cause of pleasure, which is a legi- 
timate object of desire and acquisition. And now you under- 
stand what pleasure I mean, so that what I say may not be 
brought into odium from my using an unpopular word. For 
as the chief annoyances to human life proceed from ignorance 
of what things are good and what bad, and as by reason of 
tliat mistake men are often deprived of the gi-eatest pleasures, 
and tortured by the most bitter grief of mind, we have need 
to exercise wisdom, which, by removing groundless alarms 
and vain desires, and by banishing the rashness of rl] erro- 



neous ojiininns, offers herself to us as the surest giiiJe to 
pleasure. For it is wisdom alone which expels sorrow from 
our minds, and prevents our shuddering with fear: she is the 
instructress who enables us to live in tranquillity, by extni- 
guishing in us all vehemence of desire. For desires are 
insatiable, and ruin not only individuals but entire families, 
and often overturn the whole state. From desires arise 
wiatred, dissensions, quarrels, seditions, wars. Nor is it only 
out of doors that these passions vent themselves, nor is it 
only against others that they run with blind violence; but 
they are often shut up, as it were, in the mind, and throw 
that into confusion with their disagreements. 

Vnd the consequence of this is, to make life thoi'oughly 
wretched ; so that the wise man is the only one who, having 
cut away all vanity and error, and removed it from him, can 
live contented within the boundaries of nature, without me- 
lancholy and without fear. For what divei'sion can be either 
more useful or niore adapted for human life than that which 
Epicurus employed ? For he laid it down tliat there were 
three kinds of desires; the first, such as were natural and 
necessary; the second, such as were natural but not neces- 
sary; the third, such as were neither natural nor necessary. 
And these are all such, that those which are necessary are 
satisfied without much trouble or expense : even those which 
are natural and not necessary, do not require a great deal, 
because nature itself makes the riches, which are sufficient to 
content it, easy of acquisition and of limited quantity : but 
as for vain desires, it is impossible to find any limit to, or any 
moderation in them. 

XIV. But if v/e see that the whole life of man is thrown 
into disorder by error and ignorance ; and that wisdom is the 
only thing which can relieve us from the sway of the passions 
and the fear of danger, and which can teach us to beai* the 
injm-ies of fortune itself with moderation, and which shows us 
all the ways which lead to tranquillity and peace ; what reason 
is there tliat we should hesitate to say tluit wisdom is to be 
sought for the sake of pleasure, and that folly is to be avoided 
on account of its annoyances 1 And on the same principle 
we shall say that even temperance is not to be sought for its 
own sake, but because it brings peace to the mind, and 
SJijthes and tranquillizes them by what I may call a kind oi 


joiicord. For tenipeiTince is that which warns us to follow 
reason in desiring or avoiding anything. Nor is it sufficient 
to decide what ought to be done, and what ought not; but 
we must adhere to what has been decided. But many men, 
because they are enfeebled and subdued the moment pleasure 
comes in sight, and so are unable to keep and adhere to the 
determination they have formed, give themselves up to he 
bound hand and foot by their lusts, and do not foresee what 
will happen to them ; and in that way, on account of some 
jileasure which is trivial and unnecessary, and which might 
be procured in some other manner, and which they could 
dispense witlj without annoyance, incur temble diseases, and 
injuries, and disgrace, and are often even involved in the 
penalties of the legal tribunals of then- country. 

But these men who wish to enjoy pleasure in such a way 
that no grief shall ever overtake them in consequence, and 
who retain their judgment so as never to be overcome by 
pleasure as to do what they feel ought not to be done ; these 
men, I say, obtain the greatest pleasure by passing pleasure 
by. They often even endure pain, in order to avoid encoun 
tering greater pain hereafter by their shimning it at present. 
Fz'om which consideration it is perceived that intemperance 
is not to be avoided for its own sake ; and that temperance 
is to be sought for, not because it avoids pleasures, but be- 
cause it attains to gi'cater ones. 

XV. The same principle will be found to hold good with 
respect to courage. For the discharge of labours and tlie 
endurance of pain are neither of them intrinsically tempting; 
nor is patience, nor diligence, nor watchfulness, nor industiy 
which is so much extolled, nor even courage itself: but we 
cultivate these habits in order that we may live without care 
and fear, and may be able, as far as is in our power, to release 
our minds and bodies from annoyance. For as the whole 
condition of tranquil life is thrown into confusion by the fear 
of death, and as it is a miserable tiling to yield to pain and 
to bear it with a humble and imbecile mind; and as on 
account of that weakness of mind many men have ruined 
their parents, many men their friends, some their country, 
and very many indeed have utterly undone themselves; so a 
vigorous and lofty mind is free from all care and pain, since 
it despises death, which oulv places those who encounter it iu 

I 2 


the same condition as that in which they were before they 
were born : and it is so prepared for pain that it recollects that 
the very gi-eatest are terminated by death, and that slight 
pains have many intervals of rest, and that we can master 
moderate ones, so as to bear them if they are tolerable, and 
if not, we can depart with equanimity out of life, just as 
out of a tlLcatre, when it no longer pleases us. By all which 
considerations it is \mderstood that cowardice and idleness 
are not blamed, and that courage and patience are not praised, 
for their own sakes ; but that the one line of conduct is rejected 
as the parent of pain, and the other desired as the author of 

XVI. Justice remains to be mentioned, that I may not 
omit any virtue whatever ; but nearly the same things may 
be said respecting that. For, as I have already shown that 
wisdom, temperance, and fortitude are connected with plea- 
sure in such a way that they cannot possibly be separated or 
divided from it, so also we must consider that it is the case 
with justice. Which not only never injures any one; but on 
the contrary always noiu-ishes something which tranquillizes 
the mind, partly by its own power and nature, and partly by 
the hopes that nothing will be wanting of those things which 
a nature not depraved may fairly derive. 

Since rashness and lust and idleness always torture the 
mind, always make it anxious, and are of a turbulent charac- 
ter, so too, wherever injustice settles in any man's mind, it is 
turbulent from the mere fact of its existence and presence 
there ; and if it forms any plan, although it executes it evei 
so secretly, still it never believes that what has been done 
will be concealed for ever. For generally, when wicked men 
do anything, first of all suspicion overtakes their actions; 
then the common conversation and report of men ; then the 
prosecutor and the judge ; and many even, as was the case 
■"'hen you were consul, have given information against them- 
selves. But if any men appear to themselves to be sufficiently 
I'enced round and protected from the consciousness of men, 
still they dread the knowledge of the Gods, and think that 
those ver}'^ anxieties by which their minds are eaten up night 
''ud day, are inflicted upon them by the immortal Gods for 
ihe sake of punislunent. And how is it possible that wicked 
uuuous can ever have as much influence towarls allevia*;ing 


the annoyances of life, as they must have towards increasing 
them from the consciousness of our actions, and also fi-om the 
punishments inflicted by the laws and the hatred of the 
citizens 1 And yet, in some people, there is no moderation in 
their passion for money and for honoui- and for command, 
or in their lusts and greediness and other desires, which 
acquisitions, however wickedly made, do not at all diminish, 
but rather inflame, so that it seems we ought rather to 
restrain such men than to think that we can teach them 
better. Therefore sound wisdom invites sensible men to 
justice, equity, and good faith. And unjust actions are not 
advantageous even to that man who has no abilities or re- 
sources ; inasmuch as he cannot easily do what he endeavours 
to do, nor obtain his objects if he does succeed in his en- 
deavours. And the gifts of fortune and of genius are better 
suited to liberality; and those who practise this virtue gain 
themselves goodwill, and affection, which is the most power- 
ful of all things to enable a man to live with tranquillity ; 
especially when he has absolutely no motive at all for doing 

For those desires which proceed from nature are easily 
satisfied without any injustice ; but those which are vain 
ought not to be complied with. For they desire nothing 
which is really desirable; and there is more disadvantage in 
the mere fact of injustice than there is advantage in what is 
acquired by the injustice. Therefore a person would not be 
right who should pronounce even justice intrinsically desi- 
rable for its own sake; but because it brings the gi-eatest 
amount of what is agreeable. For to be loved and to be dear 
to others is agreeable because it makes life safer, and pleasure 
more abundant. Therefore we think dishonesty should be 
avoided, not only on account of those disadvantages which 
befall the wicked, but even much more because it never per- 
mits the man in whose mind it abides to breathe freely, and 
never lets him rest. 

But if the praise of those identical virtues in which the 
discourse of all other philosophers so especially exults, cannot 
find any end unless it l)e directed towai'ds pleasure, and if 
pleasure be the only thing which calls and allures us to itself 
by its own nature ; then it cannot be doubtful that that is 
the highest and greatest of all goods, and that to live happily 
is nothing elae except to live with pleasure. 


XVII. And I will now explain in a few words the things 
which are inseparably connected with this sure and solid 

There is no mistake with respect to the ends themselves of 
good and evil, that is to say, with respect to pleasure and 
pam; but men err in these points when they do not know 
what they are caused by. But we admit that the pleasures 
and pains of the mind ai'e caused by the pleasm-es and pains 
of the body. Therefore I gi'ant what you were saying just 
now, that if any philosophers of our school think differently 
(and I see that many men do so, but they are ignorant 
people) they must be convicted of error. But although plea- 
siu-e of mind brings us joy, and pain causes us grief, it is still 
true that each of these feelings originates in the body, and is 
referred to the body ; and it does not follow on that account 
that both the pleasures and pains of the mind are not much 
more important than those of the body. For with the body 
we are unable to feel anything which is not actually existent 
and present; but with our mind we feel things past and 
things to come. For although when we are suffering bodily 
pain, we ai-e equally in pain in our minds, still a very great 
addition may be made to that if we believe that any endless 
and boundless evil is impending over us. And we may 
transfer this assertion to pleasure, so that that will be greater 
if we have no such fear. 

This now is entirely evident, that the very greatest pleasure 
or annoyance of the mind contributes more to making life 
happy or miserable than either of these feelings can do if it is 
in the body for an equal length of time. But vre do not 
agree that, if pleasure be taken away, grief follows imme- 
diately, unless by chance it happens that pain has succeeded 
and taken the place of pleasiure ; but, on the other hand, we 
affirm that men do rejoice at getting rid of pain even if no 
pleasm-e which can affect the senses succeeds. And from this 
it may be understood how great a pleasure it is not to be in 
pain. But as we are roused by those good things which we 
are in expectation of, so we rejoice at those which we recol- 
lect. But foolish men are tortured by the recollection of 
past evils ; wise men are delighted by the memory of past 
good things, which are thus renewed by the agreeable recol- 
lection. But there is a feelins; implanted in us b}- which vti 


bury adversity as it were in a perpetual oblivion, but dwell 
with pleasure and delight on the recollection of good fortune. 
But when with eager and attentive minds we dwell on what 
is past, the consequence is, that melancholy ensues, if the past 
has been unprosperous ; but joy, if it has been fortunate. 

XVIII. Oh what a splendid, and manifest, and simple, and 
plain way of living well ! For as certainly nothing could be 
better for man than to be free from all pain and annoyance, 
and to enjoy the gi-eatest pleasures of both mind and body, 
do you not see how nothing is omitted which can aid life, so 
as to enable men more easily to arrive at that chief good 
which is their object ! Epicurus cries out — the very mar 
whom you pronounce to be too devoted to pleasure — that mai 
cannot live agi'eeably, unless he lives honourably, justly, and 
wisely; and that, if he lives wisely, honourably, and justly, it 
is impossible that he should not live agreeably. For a city 
in sedition cannot be happy, nor can a house in which the 
masters are quarrelling. So that a mind which disagrees and 
quarrels with itself, cannot taste any portion of clear and 
unrestrained pleasure. And a man who is always giving in to 
pursuits and plans which are inconsistent with and contrary 
to one anothei", can never know any quiet or tranquillity. 

But if the pleasure of life is hindered by the graver diseases 
of the body, how much more must it be so by those of the 
mind? But the diseases of the mind are boundless and vain 
desires of riches, or glory, or domination, or even of lustful 
pleasures. Besides these there are melancholy, annoyance, 
sorrow, which eat up and destroy with anxiety the minde of 
those men who do not understand tliat the mind ought not to 
grieve about anything which is unconnected with some pre- 
sent or futui'e pain of body. Nor is there any fool who does 
not suffer under some one of these diseases. Therefore there 
is no fool who is not miserable. Besides these things there is 
death, which is always hanging over us as his rock is over 
Tantalus; and superstition, a feeling which prevents any one 
who is imbued with it from ever enj.oying tranquillity. Be- 
sides, such men as they do not recollect their past good for- 
tune, do not enjoy what is present, but do nothing but expect 
what is to come ; aud as that cannot be certain, they wear 
themselves out with grief and apprehension, and ai'e tor- 
mented most especially when they find out, after it is tj.:- 



late, that tlicy have devoted themselves to the pursiut of 
Hiojicy, or authority, or power, or gloiy, to no purpose. For 
they have acquired no pleasures, by the hoi)e of enjoying 
whicfi it was that they were inflamed to uudertxvke so many 
great labours. There are others, of little and narrow minds, 
eitlier always despairing of everything, or else malcontent, 
envious, ill-tempered, churlish, calumnious, and morose; others 
devoted to amatory pleasures, others petulant, others auda- 
cious, wanton, intemperate, or idle, never continuing in the 
same opinion; on which account tliere is never any inteiTU])- 
tion to the annoyances to whicli their life is exposed. 

Tlierefore, there is no fool who is happy, and no wise man who 
is not. And we put tliis much more forcibly and truly than 
tlie Stoics : for they assert that there is no good whatever, but 
some imaginary shadow which they call to Ka\6v, a name 
showy rather than substantial ; and they insist upon it, that 
virtue relying on this principle of honour stands in need of no 
pleasure, and is content with its own resources as adequate to 
;.^cure a happ}^ life. 

XIX. However, these assertions may be to a certain extent 
made not only without our objecting to them, but even with 
our concurrence and agreement. For in this way the wise 
man is represented by Epicurus as always hai)py. He has 
limited desires ; he disregards deatli ; he has a true opinion 
concerning tlie immortal Gods without any fear; he does not 
hesitate, if it is better for him, to depart from life. Being 
prepared in this manner, and armed with these principles, he 
is always in the enjoyment of pleasure ; nor is there any 
period when he does not feel more pleasure than pain. For 
he remembers the past with gratitude, and he enjoys the pre- 
sent so as to notice how important and how delightful the 
joys which it supplies are; nor does he depend on future 
good, but he waits for that and enjoys the present ; and is as 
far removed as possible from those vices which I have enu- 
merated ; and when lie compares the life of fools to his own 
he feels gi-oat pleasure. And jmin, if any does attack him, 
has never such power that the wise man has not more to 
rejoice at than to be grieved at. 

But Epicurus does admirably in saying that fortune has 
but little power over the wise man, and that the greatest 
Olid most important events of such a man's life are managed 


liy his own wisdom and prudence; and that greater plea'^iire 
cannot be derived from an eternity of hfe than sucli a man 
enjoys from this hfe whicli we see to be hmited 

But in your dialectics he thought that there was no power 
which could contribute either to enable men to live better, or 
argue more conveniently. To natvu'al philosophy he attributed 
a great deal of importance. For by the one science it is only the 
meaning of words and the character of a speech, and the way 
in which argiunents follow from or are inconsistent with one 
another, that can be seen ; but if the nature of all things is 
known, we are by that knowledge relieved from superstition, 
released from tlie fear of death, exempted from being perplexed 
by our ignorance of things, from which ignorance horrible 
fears often arise. Lastly, we shall be improved in our morals 
when we have learnt what natm-e requires. Moreover, if we 
have an accurate knowledge of things, preserving that rule 
which has fallen from heaven as it were for the knowledge of 
all things, by which all our judgments of things are to be 
regulated, we shall never abandon our opinions because of 
being overcome by any one's eloquence. 

For unless the nature of things is thoroughly known, we 
shall have no means by which we can defend the judgments 
formed by our senses. Moreover, whatever we discern by our 
intellect, all arises from the senses. And if our senses are all 
correct, as the theory of Epicurus affirms, then something 
may be discerned and understood accm-ately ; but as to those 
men who deny the power of the senses, and say that nothing 
can be known by them, those very men, if the senses are dis- 
carded, will be unable to explain that very pomt which they 
are arguing about. Besides, if all knowledge and science is 
put out of the question, then there is an end also of all settled 
jjrinciples of living and of doing anything. 

Thus, by means of natural philosophy, courage is desired to 
withstand the fear of death, and constancy to put aside the 
claims engendered by superstition; and by removing igno- 
rance of all secret things, tranquillity of mind is produced; 
and by explaining the nature of desires and their different 
kinds, we get moderation : and (as I just now explained) by 
means of this rule of knowledge, and of the judgment which 
is established and corrected by it, the power of distinguishing 
U'uth from falsehood is put into man's hands. 


XX. There remains a topic necessary above all others to 
this discussion, that of friendship, namely : which you, if 
pleasure is the chief good, affirm to have no existence at all. 
Concerning which Epicurus speaks thus: "That of all the 
things which wisdom has collected to enable man to live 
happily, nothing is more important, more influential, or more 
delightful than friendship." Nor did he prove this assertion by 
words only, but still more by his life, and conduct, and actions. 
And how important a thing it is, the fables of the ancients 
abundantly intimate, in which, many and varied as tliey are, 
and traced back to the remotest antiquity, scarcely three pairs 
of friends are found, even if you begin as far back as Theseus, 
and come down to Orestes. But in one single house, and 
that a small one, what great crowds of friends did Epicurus 
collect, and how strong was the bond of affection that held 
them together ! And this is the case even now among the 
Epicureans. However, let us return to our subject : it is not 
necessary for us to be discussing men. 

I see, then, that the philosophers of our school have treated 
the question of friendship in three ways. Some, as they denied 
that those pleasures which concerned our friends were to be 
sought with as much eagerness for their own sake, as we dis- 
play in seeking our own, (by pressing which topic some people 
think that the stability of friendship is endangered,) maintain 
that doctrine resolutely, and, as I think, easily explana it. 
For, as in the case of the virtues which I have already men- 
tioned, so too they deny that friendship can ever be separated 
from pleasure. For, as a life which is solitary and destitute 
of friends is full of treachery and alarm, reason itself warns us 
to form friendships. And wlien such are formed, then our 
minds are strengthened, and canncjt be drawn away ft-om the 
hope of attaining pleasure. And as hatred, envy, and con- 
tempt are all opposed to pleasures, so friendships are not only 
the most faithful favoui'ers, but also are tlie efficient causes of 
pleasures to one's friends as well as to oneself ; and men not 
only enjoy those pleasures at the moment, but are also roused 
by hopes of subsequent and future time. And as we cannot 
possibly maintain a lasting and continued happiness of life with- 
out friendship, nor maintain friendship itself unless we love our 
friends and ourselves equally, therefore this very effect is pro- 
duceil in friencLsJiip, and frientiship is combined mth pleasure. 


For we rejoice in the joy of our friends as much as we do 
in our own, and we are equally grieved at their sorrows. 
Wherefore the wise man will feel towards his friend as he does 
towards himself, and whatever labour he would encounter 
with a view to his own pleasure, he will encounter also for the 
sake of that of his friend. And all that has been said of the 
virtues as to the way in which they are invariably combined 
with pleasure, should also be said of friendship. For ad- 
mirably does Epicurus say, in almost these exact words : "The 
same science has strengthened the mind so that it should not 
fear any eternal or long lasting evil, inasmuch as in this 
very period of human life, it has clearly seen that the surest 
bidwark against evil is that of friendship." 

There are, however, some Epicureans who are rather inti- 
midated by the reproaches of your school, but still men of 
sufficient acuteness, and they are afraid lest, if we think 
that friendship is only to be sought after with a view to our 
own pleasure, all friendships should, as it were, appear to be 
crippled. Therefore they admit that the first meetings, and 
unions, and desires to establish intimacy, do arise from a 
desire of pleasure ; but, they say, that when progressive 
habit has engendered familiarity, then such great aftection is 
ripened, that friends are loved by one another for their own 
sake, even without any idea of advantage intermingling with 
such love. In tinith, if we are in the habit of feeling affection 
^or places, and temples, and cities, and gymnasia, and the 
Campus Martins, and for dogs, and horses, and sports, in 
consequence of our habit of exercising ourselves, and hunting, 
and so on, how much more easily and reasonably may such a 
feeling be produced in us by our intimacy with men ! 

But some people say that there is a sort of-agi-eement 
entered into by wise men not to love their friends less than 
themselves ; which we both imagine to be possible, and indeed 
see to be often the case ; and it is evident tliat nothing can 
be found having any influence on living agreeably, which is 
better suited to it than such a union. From all which consi- 
derations it may be inferred, not only that the principle of 
friendship is not hindered by our placing the chief good in 
pleasure, biit that without such a principle it is quite impos- 
eible that any friendship should be established. 

XXI. Wherefore, if the tilings which I have been saying 


are clearer and plainer than the sun itself; if all that I liave 
said is derived from the fountain of nature ; if the whole of 
my discourse forces assent to itself hy its accordance with the 
senses, that is to say, with the most incorruptihlc and honest 
of all witnesses ; if inftint children, and even brute beasts, 
declare almost in words, under the teaching and guidance of 
nature, that nothing is prosperous but pleasure, nothing hate- 
ful but pain — a matter as to which their decision is neither 
erroneous nor corrupt — ought we not to feel the greatest 
gratitude to that man who, having heard this voice of nature, 
as I may call it, has embraced it with such firmness and 
steadiness, that he has led all sensible men into the path of 
a peaceful, tranquil, and happy life 1 And as for his appear- 
ing to you to be a man of but little learning, the reason of 
that is, that he thought no learning deserving of the name 
except such as assisted in the attainment of a happy life. Was 
he a man to waste his time in reading poets, as Triarius and 
I do at your instigation 1 men in whose works there is no 
solid utility, but only a childish sort of amusement ; or to 
devote himself, like Plato, to music, geometry, arithmetic, and 
astronomy 1 studies which, starting from erroneous principles^ 
cannot possibly be true ; and which, if they were true, would 
constitute nothing to our living more agreeably, that is to 
say, better. Should he, then, pursue such occupations as those, 
and abandon the task of laying dowii principles of living, 
laborious, but, at the same time, useful as they are 1 

Epicurus, then, was not destitute of learning ; but those 
persons are ignorant who think that those studies which it is 
discreditable for boys not to have learnt, are to be continued 
till old age. 

And when he had spoken thus, — I have now, said he, 
explained my opinions, and have done so with the design 
of learning your judgment of them. But the opportunity 
of doing so. as I wished, has never been offered me before 



I. On this, when both of them fixed their eyes on me, and 
showed that they were ready to listen to me : — In the first 
place, said I, I intreat you not to fancy that I, like a professed 
philosopher, am going to explain to you the doctrines o&'Somtt 
particular school ; a course which I have never much ap- 
proved of when adopted by philosophers themselves. For 
when did Socrates, who may fairly be called the parent of 
philosophy, ever do anything of the sort 1 That custom waa 
patronized by those who at that time were called Sophists, 
of which number Georgias of Leontium was the fii'st who 
ventured in an assembly to demand a question, — that is to 
say, to desire any one in the company to say what he wished 
to hear discussed. It was a bold proceeding ; I should call it 
an impudent one, if this fashion had not subsequently been 
borrowed by our own philosophers. But we see that he 
whom I have just mentioned, and all the other Sophists, (as 
may be gathered from Plato,) were all turned into ridicule by 
Socrates ; for he, by questioning and interrogating them, 
was in the habit of eliciting the opinions of those with whom 
he was arguing, and then, if he thought it necessary, of 
replying to the answers which they had given him. And as 
that custom had not been preserved by those who came after 
him, Arcesilaus re-introduced it, and established the custom, 
that those who wished to become his pupils were not to ask 
him questions, but themselves to state their opinions ; and 
then, when they had stated them, he replied to what they 
had advanced ; but those who came to him for instruction 
defended their own opinions as well as they could. 

But with all the rest of the philosophers the man who asks 
the question says no more ; and this practice prevails in the 
Academy to this day. For when he who wishes to receive 
instruction has spoken thus, " Pleasure appears to me to be tho 


chief good," they argue against this proposition in an uninter- 
rupted discjurse ; so that it may be easily understood that 
they who say that they entertain such and such an opinion, 
do not of necessity really entertain it, but wish to hear the 
arguments which may be brought against it. We follow a 
more convenient method, for not only has Torquatus explained 
what his opinions are, but also why he entertains them : but 
I myself think, although I was exceedingly delighted with his 
uninterrupted discourse, that still, when you stop at each 
j)oint that arises, and come to an Tinderstanding what each 
party grants, and what he denies, you draw the conclusioi^ 
you desire from what is admitted with more convenience, and 
come to an end of the discussion more readily. For when a 
discourse is borne on uninterruptedly, like a ton-ent, although 
it hurries along in its course many things of every kind, you 
still can take hold of nothing, and put your hand on nothing, 
and can find no means of restraining that rapid discourse. 

II. But every discourse which is concerned in the investi- 
o^xtion of any matter, and which proceeds on any system and 
principle, ought first to establish the rule (as is done in law- 
suits, where one proceeds according to set formulas), in order 
that it may be agreed between the parties to the discussion, 
what the suliject of the discussion really is. This rule was 
approved by Epicurus, as it was laid down by Plato in his 
" Phsedrus," and he considered that it ought to be adopted in 
every controversy. But he did not perceive what was the 
necessary consequence of it, for he asserts that the subject 
ought not to be defined ; but if this be not done, it is some- 
times impossil)le that the disputants should agree what the 
matter is that is the subject of discussion, as in this very 
case which we are discussing now, for we are inquiring into 
the End of Good. How can we know what the character of 
this is, if, when we have used the expression the End of Good, 
we do not compare with one another our ideas of what is 
meant by tlie End, and of what the Good itself is ? 

And this laying open of things covered up, as it were, when 
it is once explained what each thing is, is the definition of it; 
which you sometimes used without being aware of it ; for you 
defined this very thing, whether it is to be called the End, or 
Mie extremity, or the limit, to be that to which everything 
^^liich was done rightly was refen-ed, and which was itself 


nevei' referred to anything. So far was very well said ; and, 
perhaps, if it had been necessary, you would also have defined 
the Good itself, and told us what that was ; making it to be 
that which is desirable by nature, or that which is profitable, 
or that which is useful, or that which is pleasant : and now, 
since you have no general objections to giving definitions, and 
do it when you please, if it is not too much trouble, I should 
be glad if you would define what is pleasm-e, for that is what 
all this discussion relates to. 

As if, said he, there were any one who is ignorant what 
pleasui'e is, or who is in need of any definition to enable him 
to understand it better. 

I should say, I replied, that I myself am such a man, if I 
did not seem to myself to have a thorough acquaintance with, 
and an accurate idea and notion of, pleasure fii-mly implanted 
in my mind. But, at present, I say that Epiciu'us himself 
does not know, and that he is greatly in error on this subject ; 
and that he who mentions the subject so often ought to 
explain carefully what the meaning of the words he uses is, 
but tliat he sometimes does not understand what the meaning 
of this word pleasure is, that is to say, what the idea is which 
is contained under this word. 

III. Then he laughed, and said, — This is a capital idea, 
indeed, that he who says that pleasure is the end of all things 
which are to bedesired, the very extreme point and limit of Good, 
should be ignorant of what it is, and of what is its cliaracter. 
But, I replied, either Epicurus is ignorant of what pleasure 
is, or else all tlie rest of the world are. How so 1 said he. 

Because all men feel that this is pleasure which moves the 
senses when they receive it, and which has a certain agree- 
ableness pervading it throughout. What tlien, said he, is 
Epicm-us ignorant of that kind of pleasure l Not always, I 
replied ; for sometimes he is even too well acquainted with it, 
inasmucli as he declares that he is unable even to understand 
where it is, or what any good is, except that which is enjoyed 
by the instrumentality of meat or drink, or the pleasure of 
the ears, or sensual enjoyment : is not this what he says 1 
As if, said he, I were ashamed of these things, or as if I were 
unable to explain in what sense these things are said. I do 
uot doubt, I re}ilied, that you can do so easily; nor is there 
auy reason why you need be ashamed oF oi-ffuiiio; with a wisfl 


nian, \vh'> is the only man, as far as I know, who has ever 
ventured to profess himself a wise man. For they do not 
think that Metrodurus himself professed this, but only that, 
when he was called wise by Epicurus, ho was unwilling to 
reject such an expression of his goodwill. But the Seven had 
tliis name given to them, not by themselves, but by the 
universal suffrage of all nations. However, in this place, 1 
will assume that Epicurus, by these expressions, certainly 
meant to intimate the same kind of jjleasure that the rest do; 
for all men call tliat pleasing motion by which the senses are 
rendered cheerful, liSovij in Greek, and voluptas in Latin. 

What is it, then, that you ask 1 I will tell you, said I, and 
tliat for the sake of learning rather than of finding fault with 
either you or Epicurus. I too, said he, should be more 
desirous to learn of you, if you can impart anything worth 
learning, than to find fault with you. 

Well, then, said I, you are aware of what Hieronymus' of 
Kliodes says is the chief good, to which he thinks that every- 
thing ought to be referred 1 I know, said he, that he thinks 
that the great end is freedom from pain. Well, what are his 
sentiments i-especting pleasure 1 He affirms, he replied, that 
it is not to be sought for its own sake ; for he thinks that 
rejoicing is one thing, and being fi-ee from pain another. 
And indeed, continued he, he is in this point greatly mistaken, 
for, as I proved a little while ago, the end of increasing 
pleasure is the removal of all pain. I will examine, said I, 
presently, what the meaning of the expression, freedom from 
pain, is ; but unless you are very obstinate, you must admit 
that pleasure is a perfectly distinct thing from mere freedom 
from pain. You will, however, said he, find that I am 
obstinate in this ; for nothing can be more real than the 
identity between the two. Is there, now, said I, any pleasure 
felt by a thirsty man in drinking 1 Who can deny it 1 said 
he. Is it, asked I, the same pleasure that he feels after his 
tiiirst is extinguished 1 It is, replied he, another kind of 
pleasui'e ; for the state of extinguished thirst has in it a 
certain stability of pleasure, but the pleasure of extinguishing 
it is pleasure in motion. Why, then, said I, do you call 
things so unlike one another by the same name 1 Do not 

1 Hieronymus was a disciple of Aristotle and a contemporary o. 
Afcesilaus. He Uved down to the time of Ptolemv Philadclphus. 


yoii recolL-ct, he rejoined, what I said just now, — that when 
ail pain is banished, pleasure is varied, not extinguished 1 I 
recollect, said I ; but you spoke in admirable Latin, indeed, 
but yet not very intelligibly ; for varietas is a Latin word, 
and properly applicable to a difference of colour, but it is 
applied metaphorically to many differences : we apply the 
adjective, varias, to poems, orations, manners, and changes of 
fortune ; it is occasionally predicated also of pleasure, when 
it is derived fi'om many things unlike one another, which 
cause pleasures which are similarly unlike. Now, if that is 
the variety you mean, I should understand you, as, in fact, I do 
understand you, without your saying so : but still, I do not 
see clearly what that variety is, because you say, that when 
we are free from pain we are then in the enjoyment of the 
greatest pleasure ; but when we are eating those things which 
cause a pleasing motion to the senses, then there is a pleasure 
in the emotion which causes a variety in the pleasure ; but 
still, that that pleasure which arises from the freedom from 
pain is not increased ; — and why you call that pleasure I do 
not know. 

IV. Is it possible, said he, for anything to be more delight- 
ful than freedom from pain ? Well, said I, but grant that 
nothing is preferable to that, (for that is not the point which 
I am inquiring about at present,) does it follow on that 
account, that pleasure is identical with what I may call pain- 
lessness 1 Undoubtedly it is identical with it, said he ; and 
that painlessness is the greatest of pleasures which no other 
can possibly exceed. Why, then, said I, do you hesitate, 
after you have defined the chief good in this manner, tu 
uphold, and defend, and maintain the proposition, that the 
whole of pleasure consists in freedom from pain ] For wha'' 
necessity for youi- introducing pleasure among the council of 
the virtues, any more than for bringing in a courtezan to an 
assembly of matrons ? The very name of pleasure is odious, 
infamous, and a just object of suspicion : therefore, you are 
aJl in the constant habit of saying tliat we do not understand 
what Epicurus means when he sj^eaks of pleasure. And 
"Whenever such an assertion is maile to me, — and I hear it 
advanced pretty often, — although 1 am usuall}- a very peaceful 
arguer, still I do on such occasions get a little angry. Am I 
to be told that I do not know what that is which the Greeks 



call ^Sovt), and the Latins voluptas ? Which language is it, then, 
that I do not understand 1 Then, too, how comes it about that 
I do not understand, though every one else does, who chooses 
to call himself an Epicurean 1 when the disciples of your 
school argue most excellently, that there is no need whatever 
for a man, who wishes to become a philosopher, to be 
acquainted with literature. Therefore, just as our ancestors 
tore Cincinnatus away from his plough to make him Dictator, 
in like manner you collect from among the Greeks all those 
men, who may in truth be respectable men enough, but who 
are certainly not over-leanied. 

Do they then understand what Epicurus means, and do I 
not understand it? However, that you may know that I do 
understand, first of all I tell you that voluptas is the same 
thing that he calls -rjSovrj. And, indeed, we often have to seek 
for a Latin word equivalent to, and exactly equipollent to a 
Greek one ; but here we had nothing to seek for: for no word can 
be found which will more exactly express in Latin what y'jiioi-rj 
does in Greek, than voluptas. Now every man in the world 
who understands Latin, comprehends under this word two 
things, — -joy in the mind, and an agi-eeable emotion of plea- 
santness in the body. For wlien the man in Trabea' calls 
an excessive pleasure of the mind joy, {la^titia,) he says much 
the same as the other character in Csecilius's play, who says 
that he is joyful with every sort of joy. 

However, there is this difference, that pleasure is also 
spoken of as aflecting the mind ; which is wrong, as the Stoics 
think, who define it thus : " An elation of the mind without 
reason, when the mind has an idea that it is enjoying some 
great good." But the words Icetitla (gladness), and r/audium 
(joy), do not properly apply to the body. But the word 
voluptas (pleasure) is applied to the body by the usage of all 
people who speak Latin, whenever that pleasantness is felt 
which moves any one of the senses. Now transfer this plea- 
santness, if you please, to the mind ; for the verb juvo (to 
please) is applied bt)th to body and mind, and the word 
iucundus is derived from it ; provided you understand that 
between the man who says, 

I am transported with gladness now 

Tliat I am scarce myself .... 

' Trabea 'vas a Roman comic poet, who dourished about 130 B.o, 


and him who says, 

Now then at length my mind s on fire, . . 

one of whom is beside himself with joy, and the other is being 
tormented with anguish, tliere is this intermediate person, 
wliose language is, 

Although this our acquaintance is so new, 
who feels neither gladness nor anguish. And, in the same 
manner, between the man who is in the enjoyment of tlie 
pleasures of the body, which he has been wishing for, and 
him who is being tormented with extreme anguish, there is a 
third man, who is free alike from pleasure and from pain. 

V. Do I not, then, seem to you sufficiently to understand 
the meaning of words, or must I at this time of life be tauglit 
how to speak Greek, and even Latin 1 And yet I would have 
you consider, whether if I, who, as I think, understand Greek 
very fairly, do still not understand what Epicurus means, it 
it may not be owing to some fault of his for speaking so as 
not to be intelligible. And this sometimes happens in two 
ways, without any blame ; either if you do so on purpose, as 
Heraclitus did, who got the surname of o-kot^ii^os,' because he 
spoke with too much obscurity about natvu-al philosophy ; 
or when the obscurity of the subject itself, not of the lan- 
guage, prevents what is said from being clearly understood, 
as is the case in the Timteus of Plato. But Epicurus, as 
I imagine, is both willing, if it is in his power, to speak intelli- 
gibly, and is also speaking, not of an obscure subject like the 
natural philosophers, nor of one depending on precise rules, 
as the mathematicians are, but he is discussing a plain and 
simple matter, which is a subject of common conversation 
among the common people. Although you do not deny that 
we understand the usual meaning of the word voh/ptas, b\it 
only what he means by it : from which it follows, not that 
we do not understand what is the meaning of that word, but 
that he follows his own fashion, and neglects our usual one ; 
for if he means the same thing that Hieronymus does, whu 
thinks that tlie chief good is to live without any annoyance, 
why does he prefer using the term "pleasure" rather than 
freedom from pain, as Hieronymus does, who is quite aware 
of the force of the words which he employs 1 But, if he 
thinks that he ought to add, that pleasure which consists ia 
' Dark, obscure, 



autii^n, (for this is the distinction ho draws, that this 
agreeable pleasure is pleasure in motion, but the pleasure of 
him who is free from pain is a state of ple<asure,) then why 
does he appear to aim at what is impossible, namely, to make 
any one who knows himself — that is to say, who has any proper 
comprehension of his own nature and sensations — think free- 
dom from pain, and pleasure, the same thing? 

This, Torquatus, is doing violence to one's senses ; it is 
wresting out of our minds the understanding of words with 
which we are imbued ; for who can avoid seeing that these 
three states exist in the natm-e of things : first, the state of 
being iu pleasure ; secondly, that of being in pain ; thirdly, 
that of being in such a condition as we are at this moment, 
and you too, I imagine, that is to say, neither in pleasure nor 
in pain ; in such pleasure, I mean, as a man who is at a 
l)anquet, or in such pain as a man who is being tortured. 
What ! do you not see a vast multitude of men who are 
neither rejoicing nor suffering, but in an inteiTuediate state 
lietween these two conditions 1 No, indeed, said he ; I say 
that all men who are free from pain are in pleasure, and in 
the greatest pleasure too. Do you, then, say that the man 
who, not being thirsty himself, mingles some wine for 
another, and the thirsty man who drinks it wheu mixed, are 
both enjoying the same pleasure ? 

VI. Then, said he, a truce, if you please, to all your ques- 
tions ; and, indeed, I said at the beginning that I would 
rather have none of them, for I had a provident dread of 
these captious dialectics. Would you rather, then, said I, 
that we should urgue rhetorically than dialectically ? As if, 
said he, a contiiuious discourse belonged solely to oratore, 
and not to philosophers also ! I will tell you, said I, what 
Zeno the Stoic said ; he said, as Aristotle had said before 
him, that all speaking was divided into two kinds, and that 
I'hetoric resembled the open palm, dialectics the closed fist, 
because orators usually spoke in a rather diffuse, and dialecti- 
cians in a somewhat compressed style. I will comply, then, 
v.-ith your desires, and will speak, if I can, in an oratorical 
style, but still with the oratory of the philosopliei"S, and not 
that which we use in ihc forum ; which is forced at time'i', 
wlicn it is speaking so as to suit the multitude, to submit t'j 
u very ordinary styie. But while Epicurus, Torquatus, is 


expiessmg hi& contempt for dialectics, an art which by itself 
contains the whole science both of perceiving what the real 
subject is in every question, and also of judging what the 
character of each thing is, by its system and method of con- 
ducting the argument, he goes on too fast, as it seems to me, 
and dtjes not distinguish with any skill at all the different 
points which he is intent upon proving, as in this very 
instance which we were just now speaking of. 

Pleasure is pronounced to be the chief good. We must 
then open the question, What is pleasure ? for otherwise, the 
thing which we are seeking for cannot be explained. But, if 
he had explained it, he would not hesitate ; for either he 
would maintain that same definition of pleasure which Aris- 
tippus did, namely, that it is that feeling by which the senses 
are agreeably and pleasantly moved, which even cattle, if 
they could speak, would call pleasure ; or else, if he chose 
rather to speak in his own style, than like 

All the Greeks from high Mycenae, 
All Minerva's Attic youth, 

and the rest of the Greeks who are spoken of in these anapaests, 
then he would call this freedom from pain alone by the name 
of pleasure, and would despise the definition of Aristippus ; 
or, if he thought both definitions good, as in fact he does, he 
would combine freedom from pain witli pleasure, and would 
employ the two extremes in his own definition : for many, 
and they, too, great philosophers, have combined these extre- 
mities of goods, as, for instance, Aristotle, who miited in his 
idea the practice of virtue with the prosperity of an entire 
life. Callipho' added pleasure to what is honourable. Dio- 
dorus, in his definition, added to the same honourableness, 
freedom from pain. Epicurus would have done so too, if he 
had combined the opinion which was held by Hieronymus, 
with the ancient theory of Aristippus. For those two men 
disagree with one another, and on this account they employ 
separate definitions ; and, while they both write the most 
beautiful Greek, still, neither does Aristippus, who calls 
pleasure the chief good, ever speak of freedom from pain as 
pleasure ; nor does Hieronymus, who lays it down that free- 
dom from pain is the chief good, ever use the word " pleasure " 

We know nothing more of Callipho than what we de'ive from thJ! 
and one or two other notices of him by Cicero. 


for that painlessness, inasmuch as he never eveu reckons 
pleasure at all among the things which are desirable. 

VII. They are also two distinct things, that you may not 
think that the difference consists only in words and names. 
One is to be without pain, the other to be with pleasure. But 
your school not only attempt to make one name for these two 
things which are so exceedingly unlike, (for I would not mind 
thut so much,) but you endeavour also to make one thing out 
of the two, which is utterly impossible. But Epicurus, who 
admits both things, ought to use both expressions, and in fact 
he does divide them in reality, but still he does not distin- 
guish between them in words. For though he in many places 
praises that very pleasure which we all call by the same name, 
he ventures to say tliat he does not even suspect that there is 
any good whatever unconnected with that kind of pleasure 
which Aristippus means; and he makes this statement in the 
very place where his whole discourse is about the chief good. 
But in another book, in which he utters opinions of the 
greatest weight in a concise form of words, and in which he 
is said to have delivered oracles of wisdom, he writes in those 
words which you are well acquainted with, Torquatus. For 
who is there of you who has not learnt the Kvpiai Sd^at of 
Epicurus, that is to say, his fundamental maxims % because 
they are sentiments of the greatest gravity intended to guide 
men to a happy life, and enunciated with suitable brevity. 
Consider, therefore, whether I am not translating this maxim 
of his correctly. " If those things which are the efficient causes 
of pleasures to luxurious men were to release them from all 
fear of the gods, and of death, and of pain, and to show them 
what are the proper limits to th'^ir desires, we should have 
nothing to find fault with ; as men would then be filled with 
pleasures from all quarters, and hav 3 on no side anything 
painful or melancholy, for all such things are evil." 

On this Triarius could restrain himself no longer. I beg 
of you, Torquatus, said he, to tell me, is this what Epicurus 
says? — because he appeared to me, although he knew it him- 
self, still to wish to hear Torquatus admit it. But he was 
not at all put out, and said with great confidence, Indeed, he 
does, and in these identical words; but you do not perceive 
what he means. If, said I, he says one thing and means 
another, then 1 never shall \xndei-stand what he means, but 


he speaks plainly enough for me to see what he says. And 
if what he says is that luxurious men are not to be blamed if 
they are wise men, he talks absurdly; just as if he were to 
say that parricides are not to be found fault with if they are 
not covetous, and if they fear neither gods, nor death, nor 
pain. And yet, what is the object of making any exception 
as to the luxurious, or of supposing any people, who, while 
living luxuriously, would not be reproved by that consum- 
mate philosophex-, provided only they guard against all other 
vices. Still, would not you, Epicurus, blame luxurious men 
for the mere fact of their living in such a manner as to 
pursue every sort of pleasure ; especially when, as you say, 
the chief pleasure of all is to be free from pain ? But yet we 
find some debauched men so for from having any rehgious 
scruples, that they will eat even out of the sacred vessels ; and 
so far from fearing death that they are constantly repeating 
that passage out of the Hymnis,' — 

Six months of Hfe for me are quite sufficient, 
The eeventh may be for the shades below, — 

and bringing up that Epicurean remedy for pain, as if they 
were taking it out of a medicine chest : "If it is bitter, it is of 
short duration ; if it lasts a long time, it must be slight in 
degree." There is one thing which I do not understand, 
namely, how a man who is devoted to luxury can possibly 
bave his appetites under restraint. 

VIII. What then is the use of saying, I -should have 
nothing to reproach them with if they only set bounds to 
their appetites? This is the same as saying, I should not 
blame debauched men if they were not debauched men. In 
the same way one might say, I should not blame even wicked 
men if they were virtuous. This man of strict morality does 
not think luxury of itself a thing to be blamed. And, indeed, 
Torquatus, to speak the truth, if pleasure is the chief good,' 
he is quite riglit not to think so. For I should be sorry to 
picture to myself, (as you are in the habit of doing,) men so 
debauched as to vomit over the table and be carried away 
from banquets, and then the next day, while still suffering 
from indigestion, gorge themselves again ; men who, as they 
say, have never in their lives seen tiie sun set or rise, and 
who, having devoured their patrimony, are reduced to indi- 

' The Hymnis was a comedy of Menander, translated bj Caci iuB. 


genco. None of us imagine that debauched men of that sort 
live pleasantly. You, however, rather mean to speak of re- 
fined and elegant hons vivaiis, men who, by the employment 
of the most skilful cooks and bakers, and by carefully cuUinj? 
the choicest products of fishermen. fowler% and hunters, 
avoid all indigestion — 

Men wlio draw richer wines from foaming casks. 
As Lucilius says, men who 

So strain, so cool the rosy wine with snow, 
That all the flavour still remains uninjured — 

and 90 on — men in the enjoyment of luxuries such that, if 
they are taken away, Epicurus says that he does not know 
■what there is that can be called good. Let them also have 
beautiful boys to attend upon them ; let their clothes, theil 
plate, their articles of Corinthian vertu, the banqueting-room 
itself, all correspond, still T should never be induced to say 
that these men so devoted to luxury were living either well 
or happily. From which it follows, not indeed that pleasure 
is not pleasure, but that pleasure is not the chief good. Nor 
wos Lselius, who, when a young man, was a pupil of Diogenes 
the Stoic, and afterwards of Pan^tius, called a wise man 
because he did not understand what was most pleasant to the 
taste, (for it does liot follow that the man who has a dis- 
cerning heart must necessarily have a palate destitute of 
discernment,) but because he thought it of but small 

O sorrel, how that man may boast himself, 
By whom vou're known and valued ! Proud of you. 
That wise man Laslius would loudly shout, 
Addressing all our epicures in order. 

And it was well said by Lcelius, and he may be tinily called a 
■wise man, — 

Tou Pulilius, (Jalloniu^, you whirlpool, 

You are a miserahle man ; you never 

In all your life have really feasted well. 

Though spending all your substance on those prawns, 

And overgrown huge sturgeons. 

The man who says this is one who, as he attributes no import- 
ance to pleasure himself, denies that the man feasts well who 
refers eveiything to pleasure. And yet he does not deny that 
Gallonius has at times feastLd as he wished; for that would 


be speaking untmly : he only denies that he has ever feasted 
well. With such dignity and severe principle does he distin- 
guish between pleasure and good. And the natural inference 
is, that all who feast well feast as they wish, but that it does 
not follow that all who feast as they wish do therefore feast 
well. Lajlius always feasted well. How so ? Lucilius shall 
tell you — 

He feasted on well season'd, well arranged — 
what ] What was the chief part of his supper 1 

Converse of prudent men, — 

Well, and what else 1 

with cheerful mind. 

For he came to a banquet with a tranquil mind, desirous only 
of appeasing the wants of nature. Lselius then is quite right 
to deny that Gallonius had ever feasted well ; he is quite right 
to call him miserable ; especially as he devoted the whole of 
his attention to that point. And yet no one alErms that he 
did not sup as he wished. Why then did he not feast well 1 
Because feasting well is feasting with propriety^ frugality, and 
good order; but this man was in the habit of feasting badly, 
that is, in a dissolute,profligate, gluttonous, unseemly manner. 
Lselius, then, was not preferring the flavour of sorrel to Gallo- 
nius's sturgeon, but merely treating the taste of the sturgeon 
with indifference ; which he would not have done if he had 
placed the chief good in pleasure. 

IX. We must then discard pleasure, not only in order to 
follow what is right, but even to be able to talk becomingly. 
Can we then call that the chief good in life, which we see 
cannot possibly be so even in a banquet 1 

But how is it that this philosopher speaks of three kinds 
of appetites, — some natural and necessary, some natural but 
Tiot necessary, and others neither natural nor nece^-sary? In 
the first place, he has not made a neat division ; for out of two 
linds he has ncade three. Now this is not dividing, but 
creaking in pieces. If he had said that there are two kinds 
»f appetites, natural and superfluous ones, and that the natural 
appetites might be also subdivided into two kinds, necessary 
and not necessary, he would have been all right. And tliose 
who have learnt what he despises do usually say so. For it 
is a vicious division to reckon a part as a genus. HoweA^r, 
let us i^ass over this, for he despises elegance in arguing ; he 


speaks confusedly. We must submit to this as long as hia 
sentiments are right. I do not, however, approve, and it is 
as much as I can do to endure, a philosopher speaking of the 
necessity of setting bounds to the desires. Is it possible to 
set bounds to tlie desires 1 I say that they must be banished, 
eradicated by the roots. For what man is there in whom 
appetites' dwell, who can deny that he may with propriety be 
called appetitive ? If so, he will be avaricious, though to a 
limited extent; and an adulterer, but only in moderation; 
and he will be luxurious in the same manner. Now what 
sort of a philosophy is that which does not bring with it the 
destruction of depravity, but is content with a moderate 
degree of vice 1 Although in this division I am altogether 
on his side as to the facts, only I wish he would express him- 
self better. Let him call these feelings the wishes of nature ; 
and let him keep the name of desire fur other objects, so as, 
when speaking of avarice, of intemperance, and of the greatest 
^'ices, to be able to indict it as it were on a capital charge. 
However, all this is said by him with a good deal of freedom, 
and is often repeated; and I do not blame him, for it is 
becoming in so great a philosopher, and one of such a great 
reputation, to defend his own degrees fearlessly. 

But still, from the fact of his often appearing to embrace 
that pleasure, (I mean that which all nations call by this 
name,) with a good deal of eagerness, he is at times in great 
difficulties, so that, if he could only pass undetected, there is 
nothing so shameful that it does not seem likely that he 
would do it for the sake of pleasure. And then, when he has 
been put to the blush, (for the power of nature is very great.) 
he takes refuge in denying that any addition can possibly be 
made to the pleasure of the man who is free from pain. But 
that state of freedom from pain is not called pleasure. I do 
not care, says he, about the name. But what do you say 
about the thing being utterly different? — I will find you 
many men, or I may say an innumerable host, not so curious 
nor so embarrassing as you ai-e, whom I can easily convince 
of whatever I choose. Why then do we hesitate to say that, 

' It is hardly possible to translate this so as to give the force of the 
original. Cicero says, If cupiditas is in a man he must be cupidus, and 
we have no Esiglish word which will at all answer to this a^jectiva in 
this sense. 


if to be free from pain is the highest degi'ee of pleasure, to be 
destitute of pleasure is the highest degree of pain \ Because 
it is not pleasure which is the contrary to paiu, but the 
absence of pain. 

X. But this he does not see, that it is a great proof that 
at the very moment when he says that if pleasure be once 
taken away he has no idea at all what remaining thing can be 
called good, (and he follows up this assertion with the state- 
ment that he means such pleasure as is perceptible by the 
palate and by the ears, and adds other things which decency 
ought to forbid him to mention,) he is, like a strict and 
worthy philosopher, aware that this which he calls the chief 
good is not even a thing which is worth desiring for its own 
sake, that he himself informs us that we have no reason to 
wish for pleasure at all, if we are free from pain. How incon- 
sistent are these statements ! If he had learnt to make 
correct divisions or definitions of his subject, if he had a 
proper regard to the usages of speaking and the common 
meaning of words, he would never have fallen into such dififi- 
culties. But as it is, you see what it is he is doing. That 
which no one has ever called pleasure at all, and that also 
which is real active pleasure, which are two distinct things, 
he makes but one. For he calls them agi-eeable and, as T 
may say, sweet-tasted pleasures. At times he speaks so 
lightly of them that you might fancy you were listening 
to Marcus Curius. At times he extols them so highly that 
he says he cannot form even the slightest idea of what else is 
good — a sentiment which deserves not the reproof of a philo- 
sopher, but the brand of the censor. For vice does not confine 
itself to language, but penetrates also into the manners. He 
does not (find fault with luxxny provided it to be free from 
boundless desires and from fear. While speaking in this 
way he appears to be fishing for disciples, that men who wish 
to become debauchees may become philosophers first. 

Now, in my opinion, the origin of the chief good is to be 
sought in the first origin of living animals. As soon as an 
animal is born it rejoices in pleasure, and seeks it as a good; 
it shuns pain as an evil. And Epicurus says tliat excellent 
decisions on the subject of the good and the evil are come to 
by those animals which are not yet depraved. You, too, 
have laid down the same position, and these are your own 


words. How many errors are there in them ! For by refer- 
ence to which kind of ploiisure will a puling infant judge of 
the chief good; pleasure in statility or pleasure in motion? — 
since, if the gods so will, we are learning how to speak from 
Epicurus. If it is from pleasure as a state, then certainly 
nature desires to be exempt from evil herself; which we 
grant ; if it is from pleasure in motion, which, however, is 
what 3'ou say, then there will be no pleasure so discreditable 
as to deserve to be passed over. And at the same time that 
just-born animal you are speaking of does not begin with the 
highest pleasure ; which has been defined by you to consist 
in not being in pain. 

However, Epicurus did not seek to derive this argument 
from infants, or even from beasts, which he looks upon as 
mirrors of nature as it were; so as to say that they, under 
the guidance of nature, seek only this pleasure of being free 
from pain. For this sort of pleasure cannot excite the desires 
of the mind; nor has this state of freedom from pain any 
impulse by which it can act upon the mind. Therefore 
Hieronymus blunders in tliis same thing. For that pleasure 
only acts upon the mind which has the power of alluring the 
senses. Therefore Epicm'us always has recom-se to this 
pleasure when wishing to prove that pleasure is sought for 
naturally; because that pleasure which consists in motion 
both allures infants to itself, and beasts ; and this is not done 
by that pleasm-e which is a state in which there is no other 
ingredient but freedom from pain. How then can it be 
proper to say that nature begins with one kind of pleasure, 
and yet to put the cliief good in auothei- 1 

XI. But as for beasts, I do not consider that they can pro- 
nounce any judgment at all. For although .they are not 
depraved, it is still possible for them to be wrong. Just as 
one stick may be bent and crooked by having been made so 
on purpose, and another may be so naturally ; so the nature 
of beasts is not indeed depraved by evil education, but is 
wrong naturally. Nor is it correct to say that nature excites 
the infant to desire pleasure, but only to love itself and to 
desire to pieserve itself safe and unhurt. For every animal 
the moment that it is born loves itself, and every part of itself, 
and above all does it love its two principal parts, namely its 
mind and body, and afterwaris it proceeds to love the sepa- 


rate parts of each. For there are in the mind and ako in the 
body some parts of especial consequence; and as soon as it 
has got a sUght perception of this fact, it then begins to make 
distinctions, so as to desire those things which are by nature 
given to it as its principal goods, and to reject the conti'ary. 
Now it is a great question whether among these primai-y 
natural goods, pleasure has any place or not. But to think 
that there is nothing beyond pleasure, no limbs, no sensa- 
tions, no emotions of the mind, no integi'ity of the body, no 
health, appears to me to be a token of the greatest ignorance. 
And on this the whole question of good and evil turns. Now 
Polemo and also Aristotle thought those things which I men- 
tioned just now the greatest of goods. And from this origi- 
nated that opinion of the Old Academy and of the Peripatetic'- 
School, which led them to say that the greatest good was to 
live in accordance with nature — that is to say, to enjoy the 
chief good things which are given by nature, with the accom- 
paniment of virtue. Callipho added nothing to virtue except 
pleasure; Diodorus nothing except freedom from pain. And 
all these men attach the idea of the greatest good to some 
one of these things which I have mentioned. Aristippus 
thought it was simple pleasure. The Stoics defined it to be 
agreeing with nature, which they say can only be living 
virtuously, living honourably. And they interpret it further 
thus — to live with an understanding of those things which 
happen naturally, selecting those which are in accordance 
with nature, and rejecting the contrary. So there are three 
definitions, all of which exclude honesty : — one, that of Aris- 
tippus or Epicurus; the second, that of Hieronymus; tha 
third, that of Cameades : three in which honesty is admitted 
with some qualifying additions ; those, namely, of Polemo, 
Callipho, and Diodorus : one single one, of which Zeno is the 
author, which is wholly referred to what is becoming ; that is 
to say, to honesty. For Pyrrho, Aristo, and Herillus, have 
long since sunk uito oblivion. The rest have been consistent 
with themselves, so as to make their ends agree with their 
beginnings ; so that Aristippus has defined it to be pleasure ; 
Hieronymus, freedom from pain; and Cameades, the enjoy- 
ment of what are pointed out by nature as the principal 

XII. But when Epicurus had given pleasure the highest 



nink, if he meant the same pleasure that Aristippus did 
he ought to have adopted the same thing as the chief good 
tliat he did ; if he meant the same that Hieronymus did, he 
would then have been assigning the first rank to Hieronymus's 
pleasure, and not to that of Aristippus. 

For, as to what he says, that it is decided by the senses 
themselves th;.U pleasure is a good and that pain is an evil, 
he has attributed more weight to the senses than the laws 
allow them. We are the judges of private actions, but wc 
cannot decide anything which does not legally come under 
the cognisance of our tribunal ; and, in such a case, it is to no 
purpose that judges ai'e in the habit, when they prononnce sen- 
tence, of adding, " if the question belongs to my jurisdiction ;" 
for, if the matter did not come under their jurisdiction, this 
additional form of words woidd not any the more give validity 
to their decision. Now, what is it that the senses are judges 
of? Whether a thing is sweet or bitter, soft or hard, near or 
far off; whether it is standing still or moving ; whether it is 
square or round. What sentence, then, will reason pronounce, 
having first of all called in the aid of the knowledge of divine 
and human affairs, which is properly called wisdom ; and 
having, after that, associated to itself the virtues which reason 
points out as the mistresses of all things, but which you 
make out to be only the satellites and handmaidens of plea- 
sures? The sentence, however, of all these qualities, will 
pronounce first of all, respecting pleasure, that there is nc 
room for it ; not only no room for its being placed by itself 
in the rank of the chief good, which is what we are looking 
for, but no room even for its being placed in connexion even 
with what is honourable. 

The same sentence will be passed upon freedom from pain ; 
Carneades also will be disregarded ; nor will any definition of 
the chief good be approved of, which has any close connexion 
with pleasure, or freedom from pain, or which is devoid of 
what is honourable. And so it will leave two, which it will 
consider over and over again ; for it will either lay down the 
maxim, that nothing is good except what is honourable, 
nothing evil except what is disgraceful ; that everything else 
is either of no consequence at all, or, at all events, of only so 
much, that it is neither to be sonsht after nor avoided, but 
only selected or rejected ; or else, it will prefer tlvit which It 


shall perceive to be the most richly endowed with what ia 
honourable, and enriched, at the same time, with the pri- 
mary good things of nature, and with the perfection of the 
whole life ; and it will do so all the more clearly, if it comes 
to a right understanding whether the controversy between 
them is one of facts, or only of words. 

Xin. I now, following the authority of this man, will do the 
same as he has done ; for, as far as I can, I will diminish the 
disputes, and will regard all their simple opinions in whicli 
there is no association of virtue, as judgments which ouglit to 
be utterly removed to a distance from philosophy. First Oi 
all, I will discard the principles of Aristippus, and of all the 
Cyrenaics, — men who were not afraid to place the chief good 
in that pleasure which especially excited the senses with its 
sweetness, disregarding that freedom from pain. These men did 
not perceive that, as a horse is bora for galloping, and an ox 
for ploughing, and a dog for hunting, so man, also, is born for 
two objects, as Aristotle says, namely, for understanding and 
for acting as if he were a kind of mortal god. But, on the 
other hand, as a slow moving and languid sheep is bora to 
feed, and to take pleasure in propagating his species, they 
fancied also that this divine animal was born for the same 
purposes ; than which nothing can appear to me more absui'd ; 
and all this is in opposition to Aristippus, who considers that 
pleasure not only the highest, but also the only one, which 
all the rest of us consider as only one of the pleasures. 

You, however, think differently ; but lie, as 1 have already 
said, is egregiously wrong, — for neither does the figure of the 
human body, nor the admirable reasoning powei's of the 
human mind, intimate that man was Ijorn for no ether end 
than the mere enjoyment of pleasure ; nor must we listen to 
Hieronymus, whose chief good is the same which you some- 
times, or, I might say, too often call so, namely, freedom from 
pain ; for it does not follow, because pain is an evil, that to 
be free from that evil is sufficient for living well. Ennius 
speaks more coirectly, when he says. — 

The man who feels no evil, does 
Eujoy too great a good. 

Let US define a happy life as consisting, not in the repelling 
of evil, but in the acquisition of good ; and let us seek to 
pi'ocare it, not by doing nothing, whether one is feeling plea- 


8urt-, as Aristippus says, or feeling no pain, as Hieronjmus 
insists, but by doing something, and giving our mind to 
tliought. And all these same things maybe said against that 
cliief good which Carneades calls such ; which he, however, 
brought forward, not so much for the i^urpose of proving his 
position, as of contradicting the Stoics, with whom he was 
at variance : and this good of his is such, that, when added 
to virtue, it appears likely to have some authority, and to 
be able to perfect a happy life in a most comjjlete manner, 
and it is this that the whole of this present discussion is 
about ; for they who add to virtue pleasure, which is the 
thing which above all others virtue thinks of small importance, 
or freedom from pain, which, even if it be a freedom from evil, 
is nevertheless not the chief good, make use of an addition 
which is nut very easily recommended to men in general, and 
yet I do not understand why tb.ey do it in such a niggardly 
and restricted manner : for, as if they had to bring something 
to add to virtue, first of all they add things of the least pos- 
sible value ; afterwards they add things one by one, instead of 
uniting everything which nature had approved of as the highest 
goods, to pleasure. And as all these things appeared to 
Aristo and to Pyrrho absolutely of no consequence at all, so 
that they said that there was literally no difference whatever 
between being in a most perfect state of health, and in a most 
terrible condition of disease, ]ieople rightly enougli have long 
ago given up arguing against them ; foi", while tliey insisted 
upon it that everj'thing was comprised in virtue alone, to such 
a degree as to deprive it of all power of making any selection 
of external circumstances, and while they gave it nothing from 
which it could originate, or on which it could rely, they in 
reality destroyed virtue itself, which they were professing to 
embrace. But Herillus, who sought to refer everything to 
knowledge, saw, indeed, that there was one good, but what 
he saw was not the greatest possible good, nor such an one 
that life could be regulated by it ; therefore, he also has been 
discarded a long time ago, for, indeed, there has been no one 
who has argued against him since Chrysippus. 

XIV. Your school, then, is now the onl} one remaining to 
be combated ; for the contest with the Academicians is an 
uncertain one, for they aflirm nothing, and, as if they 
despaired of arriving at any certain knowledge, wish to fcillo\r 


whatever is probable. But we have more trouble with 
Epicui'us, because he combines two kinds of pleasure, and 
because he and his friends, and many others since, have been 
advocates of that opinion ; and somehow or other, the people, 
who, though they have the least authority, have nevertheless 
the greatest power, are on his side ; and, unless we refute 
them, all virtue, and all reputation, and all true glory, must 
be abandoned. And so, having put aside the opinions of all 
the rest, there remains a contest, not between Torquatus 
and me, but between virtue and pleasm-e ; and this contest 
Chiysippus, a man of great acuteness and great industiy, is 
far from despising ; and he thinks that the whole question aa 
to the chief good is at stake in this controversy : but I think, 
if I show the reality of what is honourable, and that it is a 
thing to be sought for by reason of its own intrinsic excellence, 
and for its own sake, that all your arguments are at once 
overthrown ; therefore, when I have once established what its 
character is, speaking briefly, as the time requires, I shall 
approach all your arguments, Torquatus, unless my memory 
fails me. 

We underetand, then, that to be honourable which is such 
that, leaving all advantage out of the question, it can be 
deservedly praised by itself, without thinking of any reward 
or profit derived from it. And what its character is may be 
understood, not so much by the definition which I have 
employed, (although that may help in some degree,) as by the 
common sentiments of all men, and by tlie zeal and conduct 
of every virtuous man ; for such do many things for this sole 
reason, because they are becoming, because they are right, 
because they are honourable, even though they do not perceive 
any advantage likely to result from them : for men differ 
from beasts in many other things indeed, but especially iu 
this one particular, that they have reason and intellect given 
to them by nature, and a mind, active, vigorous revolving 
Qany things at the same time with the greatest rapidity, and, 
if I may so say, sagacious to perceive the causes of things, and 
their consequences and connexions, and to use metaphors, and 
to combine things which are unconnected, and to connect the 
future with the present, and to embrace in its view the whole 
\o'i''8e of a consistent life. The same reason has also made 
man desirous of the society of men, and inclined to agree with 



them by nature, and conversation, and custom ; so that, set- 
ting out with affection for his friends and relations, he pro- 
ceeds furtlier, and unites himself in a society, first of all of his 
fellow-countrymen, and subsequently of all mortals ; and. aq 
Plato wrote to Archytas, recollects that he has been bom, 
not for himself alone, but for liis country and his family ; so 
that there is but a small portion of himself left for himself. 
And since the same natuie has implanted in man a desire of 
ascertaining the truth, which is most easily visible when, 
being free from all cares, we wish to know what is taking 
place, even in the heavens ; led on from these beginnings we 
love everything that is true, that is to say, that is faithful, 
simple, consistent, and we hate what is vain, false and deceit- 
ful, such as fraud, perjury, cunning and injustice. 

The same reason has in itself something large and magnifi- 
cent, suited for command ratlier than for obedience ; thinking 
ail events which can befal a man not only endurable, but 
insignificant ; something lofty and sublime, fearing nothing, 
yielding to no one, always invincible. And, when these three 
kinds of the honourable have been noticed, a fourth follows, 
of the same beauty and suited to the other three, in which 
order and moderation exist ; and when the likeness of it to 
the others is perceived in the beauty and dignity of all their 
separate foiiais, we are transported across to what is honom'able 
in words and actions ; for, in consequence of these three 
virtues which 1 have already mentioned, a man avoids rash- 
ness, and does not venture to injure any one by any wanton 
word or action, and is afraid either to do or to say anything 
which may appear at all unsuited to the dignity of a man. 

XV. Here, now, Torquatus, you have a pictm-e of what 
is honourable completely filled in and finished ; and it is con- 
tained wholl}' in these four virtues which you also mentioned. 
But your master Epicurus says that he knows nothing what- 
ever of it, and does not understand what, or what sort of 
quality those people assert it to be, who profess to measure 
the chief good by the standard of what is honourable. For 
if everything is referred to that, and if they say that pleasure 
has no part in it, then he says that they are talking idly, 
(these are his very words,) and do not understand or see what, 
real meaning ought to be conveyed under this word honour- 
able ; for, as custom has it, lu says that that alone is honour- 


able which is accounted glorious by common report; and 
that, says he, although it is often more pleasant than some 
pleasures, still is sought for the sake of pleasure. Do you no 
see how greatly these two parties differ? A noble philosopher, 
by whom not only Greece and Italy, but all the countries of 
the barbarians are influenced, says that he does not under- 
stand what honourableness is, if it be not in pleasure, unless, 
perchance, it is that thing which is praised by the common 
conversation of the populace. But my opinion is, that this 
is often even dishonourable, and that real honourableues? is 
not called so from the circumstance of its being praised by 
the many, but because it is such a thing that even if men 
were unacquainted with it, or if they said nothing about it, 
it would still be praiseworthy by reason of its own intrinsic 
beauty and excellence. 

And so he again, being forced to yield to the power of 
nature, which is always irresistible, says in another place 
what you also said a little while ago, — that a man cannot live 
pleasantly unless he also lives honourably. Now then, what is 
the meaning of honourably? does it mean the same as plea- 
santly? If so, this statement will como to this, that a mau 
cannot live honourabh^ unless he lives honourably. Is it 
honourably according to public report? Therefore he affirms 
that a man cannot live pleasantly without he has public re- 
port in his favour. What can be more shameful than for the 
life of a wise man to depend on the conversation of fools? 
What is it, then, that in this place he understands by the 
word honourable ? Certainly nothing except what can be 
deservedly j)raised for its own sake ; for if it be praised fot 
the sake of pleasure, then what sort of praise, I should like 
to know, is that which can be sought for in the shambles? 
He is not a man, while he places honourableness in such a 
rank that he affirms it to be impossible to live pleasantly 
without it, to think that honourable which is popular, and to 
affirm that one cannot live pleasantly without popularity ; or 
to understand by the word honourable anything except what is 
right, and deservedly to be praised by itself and for itself, from 
a regard to its own power and influence and intrinsic nature. 

XVI. Therefore, Torquatus, when you said that Epicurug 
asserted loudly that a man could not live pleasantly if he 
did not also live honourabl}", and wisely, and justly, you 



appeared to me to be boasting yourself. There was such 
energy in your words, on account of the dignity of those things 
which were indicated by those words, that you became taller, 
that you rose up, and hxed your eyes upon us as if you were 
giving a solemn testimony that honourableness and justice 
are sometimes praised by Epicurus. How becoming was it 
to you to use that language, which is so necessary for philoso- 
phers, that if they did not use it we should have no great 
need of philosophy at all ! For it is out of love for those 
words, which are very seldom employed by Epicurus — I mean 
wisdom, fortitude, justice, and temperance — that men of the 
most admirable powers of mind have betaken themselves to 
the study of philosophy. 

" The sense of our eyes," says Plato, " is most acute in us ; 
but yet we do not see wisdom with them. What a vehement 
passion for itself would it excite if it could be beheld by the 
eyes ! " Why so 1 Because it is so ingenious as to be able 
to devise pleasures in the most skilful manner. Why is jus- 
tice extolled? or what is it that has given rise to that old 
and much-worn proverb, " He is a man with whom you may 
play' in the dark." This, though applied to only one thing, 
has a very extensive application ; so that in every case we are 
influenced by the facts, and not by the witness. 

For those things which you were saying were very weak 
and powerless arguments, — when you urged that the wicked 
were tormented by their own consciences, and also by fear of 
punishment, which is either inflicted on them, or keeps them 
in constant fear that it will be inflicted. One ought not to 
imagine a man timid, or weak in his mind, nor a good man, 
who, whatever he has done, keeps tormenting himself, and 
di-eads everything; but rather let us fancy one, who with 
gi'eat shrewdness refers everything to usefulness — an acute, 
crafty, wary man, able with ease to devise plans for deceiving 
any one secretly, without any witness, or any one being privy 
to it. Do you think that I am speaking of Lucius Tubulus J 
— who, when as prtetor he had been sitting as judge upon the 

' The Latin is "quicum in tenebris," — the proverb at full length 

beinjr, " Dignus quieum in tenebris niices." Micare was a game played, 

(much the same as that now called La Mora in Italy,) by extending 

Uie fingers and making the antagonist guess how many fingers wor« 

Tteuded by tiie two together. 


•jial of some assassins, took money to influence his decision 
» undisguisedly, that the next year Publius Scaevola, being 
jribune of the people, made a motion before the people, that 
in inquiry should be made into the case. In accordance with 
"w^hich decree of the people, Cnseus Csepio, the consul, was 
jrdered by the senate to investigate the affair, Tubulus im- 
mediately went into banishment, and did not dare to make any 
reply to the charge, for the matter was notorious. 

XVII. We are not, therefore, inquiring about a man who 
'8 merely wicked, but about one who mingles cunning with 
nis wickedness, (as Quintus Pompeius' did when he repudiated 
■jhe treaty of Numantia,) and yet who is not afraid of every- 
thing, but who has rather no regard for the stings of con- 
science, which it costs him no trouble at all to stifle ; fur 
a man who is called close and secret is so far from informing 
igainst himself, that he will even pretend to grieve at what 
s done wrong by another; for what else is the meaning of tlie 
vord crafty (yersutus)'i I recollect on one occasion being 
•resent at a consultation held by Publius Sextilius Rufus, 
vhen he reported the case on which he asked advice to his 
fiends in this manner : That he had been left heir to Quintus 
?adius Gallus; in whose will it had been written that he had 
jntreated Sextilius to take care that what he left behind him 
liould come to his daughter. Sextilius denied that he had 
lone so. He could deny it with impunity, for who was there 
o convict him 1 None of us believed him ; and it was more 
ikely that he should tell a lie whose interest it was to do so, 
.han he who had set down in his will that he had made the 
request which he ought to have made. He added, moreover, 
that having sworn to comply with the Voconian * law, he did 

' This was Quintus Pompeius, the first man who raised his family 
M importance at Rome. He was consul b.c. 141. Being commander 
n Spain, he laid siege to Numantia ; and having lost great numbers 
of his troops through cold and disease, he proposed to the Kunian- 
tines to come to terms. Publicly he required of them an unconditional 
Burrender, but in private he only demanded the restoration of the 
prisoners and deserters, that they should give hostages and pay thirty 
talents. The Numantines agreed to this, and paid part of the money, 
but when Popilius Laenas arrived in Spain as his successor, he denied 
the treaty, though it had been witnessed by his own officers. The 
matter was referred to the senate, who on the evidence of Pompeius 
declared the treaty invalid, and the war was renewed 

* The Voconia lex was passed on the proposal of Quintus V'oconiui 


not dare to violate it, unless his friends were of a contrary 
opinion. I myself was very young wiien I was present on 
tliis occasion, but there were present also many men of the 
highest character, not one of whom thought that more ought 
to be given to Fadia than could come to her under the pro- 
visions of the Voconian law. Sextilius retained a veiy large 
inheritance ; of which, if he had followed the opinion of those 
men wlio pi-eferred what was right and honourable to all 
])rofit and advantage, he would never have touched a single 
l)enny. Do you think that he was afterwards anxious and 
uneasy in his mind on that account ? Not a bit of it : on 
tiie contrary, he was a rich man, owing to that inheritance, 
and he rejoiced in his riches, for he set a great value on 
money which was acquired not only without violating the 
laws, but even by the law. And money is what you also 
think worth seeking for, even with gi-eat risk, for it is the 
efficient cause of many and great pleasures. As, therefore, 
every danger appears fit to be encountered for the sake of 
what is becoming and honourable, by those who decide that 
what is right aud honourable is to be sought for its own sake; 
so the men of your school, who measure everything by plea- 
sure, must encounter every danger in order to acquire great 
{jleasures, if any great property or any important inheritance 
is at stake, since numerous pleasures are procured by money. 
And your master Epicurus must, if he wishes to pursue 
what he himself considers the chief of all good things, do the 
same that Scipio did, wlio had a prospect of great glory before 
him if he could compel Annibal to return into Africa. And 
with this view, what great dangers did he encounter! for he 
measured the whole of his enterprise by the standai'd of 
honour, not of pleasure. And in like manner, your wise 
man, being excited by the prospect of some advantage, will 
fight ' courageously, if it should be necessary. If his exploits 

Saxa, one of the tribunes, b.c. 169. One of its provisions was, t'nat a 
woman could not be left the heiress of any person who was rated in the 
census at 100.000 sesterces; though she could take the iuheritance 
perjidei commissum. But as the law applied only to wills, a daughter 
could inherit from a father dying intestate, whatever the amount of his 
property might be. A pirson who was not census could make a woman 
his heir. Tliere is, however, a good deal of obscurity and uncertainty 
&.-« to some of the provisions of this law. 

' There appears to be some corruption in the text here. 


are undiscovered, he will rejoice; if he is taken, he will 
despise every kind of punishment, for he will be thoroughly 
armed for a contempt of death, banishment, and even of pain, 
which you indeed represent as intolerable when you hold it 
out to wicked men as a punishment, but as endurable when 
you argue that a wise man has always more good than evil 
in his foi-tuue. 

XVIII. But picture to yourself a man not only cunning, 
so as to be prepared to act dishonestly in any circumstances 
that may arise, but also exceedingly powerful ; as, for instance, 
Marcus Crassus was, who, however, always exercised his own 
natural good disposition ; or as at this day our friend Pom- 
peius is, to whom we ought to feel grateful for his virtuous 
conduct ; for, although he is inclined to act justly, he could 
be unjust with perfect impunity. But how many unjust 
actions can be committed which nevertheless no one could 
find any ground for attacking! Suppose your friend, when 
dying, has entreated you to restore his inheritancie to his 
daughter, and yet has never set it down in his will, as Fadius 
did, and has never mentioned to any one that he has done so, 
what will you do 1 You indeed will restore it. Perhaps 
Epicurus himself would iiave restored it ; just as Sextus 
Peducseus the son of Sextus did ; he who has left behind him 
a son, our intimate fi'iend, a living image of his own virtue 
and honesty, a learned person, and the most virtuous and 
upright of all men ; for he, though no one was aware that he 
had been entreated by Caius Plotius, a Roman knight of high 
cliaracter and great fortune, of the district of Nursia, to do 
so, came of his own accord to his widow, and, tliough she 
had no notion of the fact, detailed to her the commission 
which he had received fi'om her husband, and made over the 
inheritance to her. But I ask you (since yuu would certainly 
have acted in the same manner yourself), do you not under- 
stand that the power of nature is all the greater, injusmuch as 
you yourselves, who refer evei"ything to your own advantage, 
and, as you yourselves say, to pleasure, still perform actions 
from which it is evident that you are guided not by pleasure, 
but by |>rinciples of duty, and that your own upright nature 
lias more influence over you than any vicious reasoning? 

If you knew, says Caraeades, that a snake was lying hid 
in any place, and that some one was going ignorantly to sit 


duwu upon it whose death would bring you some advantage, 
you would be acting wickedly if you did not warn him not to down there; and yet you could not be punished, for who 
could possil)ly convict you? However, I am dwelling too 
long on this point ; for it is evident, unless equity, good faith 
and justice proceed from nature, and if all these things are" 
referred to advantage, that a good man cannot possibly be 
found. But on this subject we have put a sufficient number 
of arguments into the month of Leelius, in our books on a 

XIX. Now apply the same arguments to modesty, or tem- 
jieraiice, which is a moderation of the appetites, in subordina- 
tion to reason. Can we say that a man pays sufficient regard 
to the dictates of modesty, who indulges his lusts in such a 
manner as to have no witnesses of his conduct? or is there 
anything which is intrinsically flagitious, even if no loss of 
reputation ensues 1 What do brave men do 1 Do they enter 
into an exact calculation of pleasure, and so enter the battle, 
and shed their blood for their country 1 or are they excited 
rather by a certain ardour and impetuosity of courage 1 Do 
you think, Torquatus, that that imj^erious ancestor ot 
3'ours, if he could hear what we are now saying, would i-ather 
listen to your sentiments concerning him, or to mine, when 
I said that he had done nothing for his own sake, but evei-y- 
thiug for that of the republic; and you, on the contrary, 
affirm that he did nothing except with a view to his own 
advantage? But if yoii were to wish to explain yourself fur- 
ther, and were to say open!}' that he did nothing except for 
the sake of pleasure, how do you think that he would bear 
<«uch an assertion ? 

Be it so. Let Torquatus, if you will, have acted solely 
with a view to his own advantage, for I would rather employ 
tliat expression than pleasure, especially when speaking of sc 
eminent a man, — did his colleague too, Publius Decius, the 
first man who ever was consul in that family, did he. I say, 
when he was devoting himself, and rushing at the full speed 
of his horse into the middle of the army of the Latins, think 
at all of his own pleasures ? For where or when was he to 
find any, when he knew that he should perish immediately, 
and when he was seeking that death with more eager zeal 
than l^picurus thinks even pleasure deserving to be sought 


with ? And unless this exploit of his had been desei*vedly 
extolled, his son would not have imitated it in his fourth 
consulship ; nor, again, would his son, when fighting against 
Pyrrhus, have fallen in battle when he was consul, and so 
offered himself up for the sake of the republic as a third 
victim in an uninterrupted succession from the same family. 
I will forbear giving any more examples. I might get a few 
from the Greeks, such as Leonidas, Epaminondas, and three 
0)- four more perhaps. And if I were to begin hvmting up 
our own annals for such instances, I should soon establish 
my point, and compel Pleasure to give herself up, bound 
hand and foot, to virtue. But the day would be too short 
for me. And as Aulus Varius, who was considered a rather 
severe judge, was in the habit of saying to his colleague, 
when, after some witnesses had been produced, others were 
still being summoned, " Either we have had witnesses enough, 
or I do not know what is enough;" so I think that I have 
now brought forward witnesses enough. 

For, what will you say 1 Was it pleasure that worked 
upon you, a man thoroughly worthy of your ancestors, while 
still a young man, to rob Publius Sylla of the consulship ] 
And when you had succeeded in procuring it for your father, 
a most gallant man, what a consul did he prove, and what a 
citizen at all times, and most especially after his consulship ! 
And, indeed, it was by his advice that we ourselves behaved 
in such a manner as to consult the advantage of the whole 
body of the citizens rather than our own. 

But how admirably did you seem to speak, when on the 
one side you drew a picture of a man loaded with the most 
Mumerous and excessive pleasures, with no pain, either present 
or future; and on the other, of a man surrounded with the 
greatest torments affecting his whole body, with no pleasure, 
either present or hoped for; and asked who could be more 
miserable than the one, or more happy than the other ? and 
then concluded, that pain was the gi-eatest evil, and pleasure 
the greatest good. 

XX. There was a man of Lanuvium, called Lucius Thorium 
Balbus, whom you cannot remember; he lived in such a way 
that no pleasure could be imagined so exquisite, that he had 
not a superfluity of it. He was greedy of pleasure, a critical 
jidge of every species of it, and very rich. So far removed 


from all superstition, as to despise the numerous sacrifices 
which take place, and temples which exist in his country ; so 
far from fearinti: death, that he was slain in battle fi-ghting for 
the republic. He bounded his appetites, not according to the 
division of Epicurus, but by his own feelings of satiety. He 
took sufficient exercise always to come to supper both thirsty 
and himgry. He ate such food as was at the same time 
nicest in taste and most easy of digestion; and selected such 
wine as gave him pleasure, and was, at the same time, free 
from hurtful qualities. He had all those other means and 
appliances wiiich Epicurus thinks so necessary, that he says 
that if they are denied, he cannot understand what is good. He 
was free from every sort of pain ; and if he had felt any, he 
would not have borne it impatiently, though he would have 
l>een more inclined to consult a physician than a philosopher. 
He was a man of a beautiful complexion, of perfect health, 
of the greatest influence, in short, his whole life was one 
uninterrupted scene of every possible variety of pleasm-es. 
Now, you call this man happy. Your principles compel you 
to do so. But as for me, I will not, indeed, venture to name 
the man whom I prefer to him — Virtue herself shall speak 
for me, and she will not hesitate to rank Marcus Regulus 
before this happy man of yours. For Virtue asserts loudly 
that this man, when, of his own accord, under no compulsion, 
except that of the pled'^e which he had given to the enemy, 
he had returned to Carthage, was, at the veiy moment when 
he was being tortured with sleeplessness and hunger, more 
happy than Thorius while drinking on a bed of roses. 

Regulus had had the conduct of great wars ; he had been 
twice consul ; he had had a triumph ; and yet he did not 
think those previous exploits of his so gi-eat or so glorious 
as that last misfortune which he incurred, because of his own 
good faith and constancy ; a misfortune which appears pitiable 
to us who hear of it, but was actually pleasant to him who 
endured it. For men are happy, not because of hilarity, or 
lasciviousness, or laughter, or jesting, the companion of levity, 
but often even through sorrow endured with firmness and 
constancy. Lncretia, having been ravished by force by the 
kino;'s son, called her fellow-citizens to witness, and slew 
herself This grief of hers, Brutus being the leader and 
mover of the Roman people, was the cause of liberty to th« 


whole state. And out of regard for the memory of that 
woman, her husband and her father were made consuls * the 
first year of the republic. Lucius Virginius, a man of small 
property and one of the people, sixty years after the reesta- 
blishment of liberty, slew his virgin daughter with his own 
hand, rather than allow her to be surrendered to the lust of 
Appius Claudius, who was at that time invested with the 
supreme power. 

XXI. Now you, Torquatus, must either blame all these 
actions, or else you must abandon the defence of pleasure. 
And what a cause is that, and what a task does the man 
undertake who comes forward as the advocate of pleasure, 
who is unable to call any one illustrious man as evidence in 
her favour, or as a witness to her character 1 For as we have 
awakened those men from the records of our anuals as 
witnesses, whose whole life has been consumed in glorious 
labours; men who cannot bear to hear the very name of 
pleasure : so on your side of the argument history is dumb, 
1 have never heard of Lycurgus, or Solon, Miltiades, or 
Themistocles, or Epaminondas being mentioned in the school 
of Epicurus ; men whose names are constantly in the mouth 
of all the other philosophers. But now, since we have begun 
to deal with this part of the question, our friend Atticus, out 
of his treasures, will supply us with the names of as many 
great men as may be sufficient for us to bring forward as 
witnesses. Is it not better to say a little of these men, than 
so many volumes about Themista 1 ^ Let these things be con- 
fined to the Greeks : although we have derived philosophy 
and all the liberal sciences from them, still there are things 
which may be allowable for them to do, but not for us. The 
Stoics are at variance with the Peripatetics. One sect denies 
that anything is good which is not also honourable : the 
other asserts that it allows great weight, indeed, by far the 
most weight, to what is honourable, but still affirms that 
there are in the body also, and around the body, certain 
positive goods. It is an honom-able contest and a splendid 

' Spurius Lucretius Tricipitinus, the father of Liicretia, was made 
consul as the colleague of Valerius Publicola, in the place of Brutus, 
who had been slain in battle by Aruns, one of the sons of Tarquin. 

2 Themi.sta was a female philosopher, wife of a man named Leon, 
lous, or Leon, and a friend and correspondent of Epicurus. 


discussion. For the v/hole question is about the dignity of 

But when one is arguing with philosophers of your school, 
one is forced to hear a great deal about even the obscure 
pleasures which Epicurus himself continually mentions. You 
cannot then, Torquatus, believe me, you cannot uphold those 
principles, if you examine into yourself, and your own 
thoughts and studies. You will, I say, be ashamed of that 
pictm-e which Cleanthes was in the habit of drawing with 
such accuracy in his description. He used to desire those 
who came to him as his pupils, to think of Pleasure painted 
in a picture, clad in beautiful robes, with royal oi-naments, 
and sitting on a throne. He represented all the Virtues 
around her, as her handmaidens, doing nothing else, and 
thinking nothing else their duty, but to minister to Pleasure, 
and only just to whisper in her ear (if, indeed, that could be 
made intelligible in a picture) a warning to be on her guard 
to do nothing imprudent, nothing to offend the minds of 
men, nothing from which any pain could ensue. We, indeed, 
they would say, we Virtues are only bora to act as your 
slaves ; we have no other business. 

XXII. But Epicurus (for this is your great point) denies 
that any man who does not live honourably can live agree- 
ably ; as if I cared what he denies or what he affirms. What 
I inquire is, what it is consistent for that man to say who 
places the chief good in pleasure. What reason do you 
allege why Thorius, why Chius, why Postumius, why the 
master of all these men, Grata, did not live most agreeably ? 
He himself, as I have already said, asserts that the life of 
men devoted to luxury is not deserving of blame, unless they 
are absolute fools, that is to say, unless they abandon them- 
selves to become slaves to their desires or to their fears. And 
when he promises them a remedy for both these things, he, 
in so doing, offers them a licence for luxury. For if you take 
away these things, then he says that he cannot find anything 
in the life of debauched men which deserves blame. You 
then, who regulate eveiything by the standard of pleasure, 
cannot either defend or maintain virtue. For he does not 
deserve to be accounted a virtuous or a just man whj 
abstains from injustice in order to avoid suffering evil. You 
kuow the line, I suppose — 


He's not a pious man whom fear lonstraina 
To acts of piety .... a man — 

And nothing can be more true. For a man is not just while 
he is in a state of alarm. And certainly when ho ceases to 
be in fear, he will not be just. But he will not be afraid if he 
is able to conceal his actions, or if he is able, by means of his 
great riches and power, to support what he has done. And 
he will certainly prefer being regarded as a good man, though 
he is not one, to being a good man and not being thought 
one. And so, beyond all question, instead of genuine and 
active justice, you give us only an effigy of justice, and you 
teach us, as it were, to disregard our own unvai-ying con- 
Bcience, and to go hunting after the fleeting vagabond opinions 
of others. 

And the same may be said of the other virtues also; the 
foundation of all which you place in pleasure, which is hke 
building on water. For what are we to say 1 Can we cah 
that same Torquatus a brave man 1 For I am delighted 
though I cannot, as you say, bribe you ; I am delighted with 
your family and with your name. And, in truth, I have 
before my eyes Aulus Torquatus,' a most excellent man, ana 
one greatly attached to me; and both of you must certainly 
be aware how great and how eminent his zeal in my behalf 
was in those times which are well known to every one. And 
that conduct of his would not have been delightful to me, 
who wish both to be, and to be considered, gmteful, if I did 
not see clearly that he waj friendly to me for my o^vti sake, 
not for his own ; unless, indeed, you say, it was for his own 
sake, because it is for the interest of every one to act rightly 
If you say that, we have gained our point. For what we are 
aiming at, what we are contending for, is, that duty itself ip 
the reward of duty. But that master of yours will not 
admit this, and requires pleasure to result from every action 
as a sort of wages. 

However, I return to him. If it was for the sake of 
pleasure that Torquatus, when challenged, fought with the 
Gaul on the Anio, and out of his spoils took his chain and 
earned his surname, or if it was for any other reason but that 
he thought such exploits worthy of a man, then I do not 

' He means when he was banished, and when Torquatus joined iii 
promoting the measures for his recai 


account him brave. And, indeed, if modesty, and decency, 
and chastity, and, in one word, temperance, is only upheld by 
the fear of punishment or infamy, and not out of regard to 
tlieir own sanctity, then what lengths will adultery and 
debauchery and lust shrink from proceeding to, if there is a 
hope either of escaping detection, or of obtaining impunity 
or licence 1 

What shall I say more ? What is your idea, Torquatus, 
of this 1 — that you, a man of your name, of your abilities, of 
your high reputation, should not dare to allege in a public 
assembly what you do, what you think, what you contend for, 
the standard to which you refer everything, the object for the 
sake of which you wish to accomplish what you attempt, and 
what you think best in life. For what can you claim to 
deserve, when you have entered upon your magistracy, and 
come forward to the assembly, (for then you will have to 
announce what principles you intend to observe in administer- 
ing the law, and perhaps, too, if you think fit, you will, as is 
the ancient custom, say something about your ancestors and 
youi-self,) — what, I say, can you claim as your ju«t desert, if 
you say that in that magistracy you will do everything for 
the sake of pleasure 1 and that you have never done anything 
all your life except with a view to pleasure ? Do you think, 
say you, that I am so mad as to speak in that way before 
ignorant people 1 Well, say it then in the court of justice, or 
if you are afraid of the surrounding audience, say it in the 
senate : you will never do so. Why not, except that such 
language is disgraceful ? Do you then think Triarius and me 
fit people for you to speak before in a disgraceful manner 1 

XXIII. However, be it so. The name of pleasure certainly 
has no dignity in it, and perhaps we do not exactly under- 
stand what is meant by it ; for you are constantly saying that 
we do not understand what you mean by the word pleasuie : 
no doubt it is a very difficult and obscure matter. When 
you speak of atoms, and spaces between worlds, things which 
do not exist, and which cannot possibly exist, then we under- 
stand you ; and cannot we understand what pleasure is, a 
thing which is known to every sparrow 1 What will you say 
if I compel you to confess that I not only do know what 
pleasure is (for it is a pleasant emotion affecting the senses), 
but also what you mean by the word 1 For at one time you 


mean by the word the very same thing which T have just 
Baidj and you give it the description of consisting in motion, 
and of causing some variety : at another time you speak of 
some other highest pleasure, which is susceptible of no addition 
whatever, but that it is present when every sort of pain is 
absent, and you call it then a state, not a motion : lot that, 
then, be pleasure. Say, in any assembly you please, that you 
do everything with a view to avoid suffering pain : if you do 
not think that even this language is sufficiently dignified, or 
sufficiently honoirrable, say that you will do everything during 
your year of office, and during your whole life, for the sake of 
your own advantage ; that you will do nothing except wliat 
is profitable to yourself, nothing which is not prompted by a 
view to yoiir own interest. What an uproar do you not 
suppose such a declaration would excite in the assembly, and 
what hope do you think you would have of the consulsliip 
which is ready for you 1 And can you follow these principles, 
which, when by youreelf, or in conversation with your dearest 
friends, you do not dare to profess and avow openly ? But 
you have those maxims constantly in your mouth which the 
Peripatetics and Stoics profess. In the courts of justice and 
in the senate you speak of duty, equity, dignity, good faith, 
uprightness, honourable actions, conduct worthy of power, 
worthy of tlie Roman people ; 3'ou talk of encountering every 
imaginable danger in the cause of the republic - of dying for 
one's country. When you speak in this manner we are all 
amazed, like a pack of blockheads, and you ai'e laughing 
in your sleeve: for, among all those high-sounding and 
admirable expressions, pleasure has no place, not only that 
pleasure which you say consists in motion, and which all 
men, whether living in cities or in the countiy, all men, 
in short,, who speak Latin, call pleasure, but even that 
Btationaiy pleasui-e, which no one but your sect calls plea- 
sure at all. 

XXIV. Take care lest you find yourselves obliged to use 
our language, though adliering to youi- own opinions. But if 
3'ou were to put on a feigned countenance or gait, with the 
object of appearing more dignified, you would not then be like 
yourself; and yet are you to use fictitious language, and to 
say things which yoxi do not think, or, as you have one dress 
to wear at home, and another in which you appeal in court, 


are you to disguise your opinions in a similar manner, so OE 
to make a pai-ade with your countenance, wliile you aro 
keeping the truth hidden within? Consider, I intreat you, 
whetlier this is proper. My opinion is that those are genuine 
sentiments which are honourable, which are praiseworthy, 
which are creditable; which a man is not ashamed to avow 
in the senate, before the people, in every company and every 
assembly, so that he will be ashamed to think what he ia 
ashamed to say. 

But what room can there be for friendship, or who can be 
a friend to any one whom he does not love for his own sake 1 
And what is loving, from which verb (amo) the very name of 
friendship {amicitia) is derived, but wishing a certain person 
to enjoy the greatest possible good fortune, even if none of it 
accrues to oneself? Still, you say, it is a good thing for me 
to be of such a disposition. Perhaps it may be so ; but you 
cannot be so if it is not really your disposition ; and how can 
you be so unless love itself has seized hold of you ? which is not 
usuall}' generated by any accurate computation of advantage, 
but is self-produced, and born spontaneously from itself. But, 
you will say, I am guided by prospects of advantage. Friend- 
ship, then, will remain just as long as any advantage ensues 
from it ; and if it be a principle of advantage which is the 
foundation of friendship, the same will be its destruction. 
But what will you do, if, as is often the case, advantage takea 
the opposite side to friendship? Will you abandon it? what 
sort of friendship is that ? Will you preserve it ? how will that 
be expedient for you ? For you see what the rules are which 
you lay down respecting friendship which is desirable only for 
the sake of one's own advantage : — I must take care that I do 
not incur odium if I cease to uphold my friend. Now, in the first 
place, why should such conduct incur odium, except because 
it is disgraceful ? But, if you will not desert your friend lest 
you should incur any disadvantage from so doing, still you 
will wish that he was dead, to release you from being bound 
to a man from whom you get no advantage. But suppose he 
not only brings you no advantage, but you even incur loss of 
property for his sake, and have to undertake lalxnirs, and to 
encounter danger of your life ; will you not, even then, show 
some regard for yourself, and recollect that every one is b Drn 
for himself and for his own pleasures? Will you go bail tj a 


tyrant for your friend in a case which may affect yovir life, as 
that Pytliagorean' did when he became surety to the Tyrant 
of Sicily 1 or, when you are Pylades, will you affirm that you 
are Orestes, that you may die for your friend 1 or, if you were 
Orestes, would you contradict Pylades, and give yourself up 1 
and, if you could not succeed then, would you intreat that 
you might be both put to death together 1 

XXV. You, indeed, Torquatus, would do all these things. 
For I do not think that there is anything deserving of great 
pi'aise, which you would be likely to shrink from out of fear 
of death or pain : nor is it the question what is consistent 
with your nature, but with the doctrines of your school — that 
philosophy which you defend, those prece[)ts which you have 
learnt, and which you profess to approve of, utterly overtlirow 
friendship — even though Epicurus should, as indeed he does, 
extol it to the skies. Oh, you will say, but he himself culti- 
vated friendship. As if any one denied that he was a good 
and courteous, and kind-hearted man : the question in these 
discussions turns on his genius, and not on his morals. Orant 
that thei'e is such perversity in the levity of the Gi-eeks, who 
attack those men with evil speaking with whom they disagree 
as to the truth of a proposition. But, although he may have 
been courteous in maintaining friendships, still, if all this it 
true, (for I do not affirm anything myself), lie was not a very 
acute arguer. Oh, but he convinced many people. And 
perhaps it was quite right that he should ; still, the testimony 
of the multitude is not of the greatest possible weight ; for in 
every art, or study, or science, as in virtue itself, whatever is 
most excellent is also most rare. And to me, indeed, the very 
fact of he himself having been a good man, and of many 
Epicureans having also been such, and being to this day 
faithful in their friendships, and consistent throughout their 
whole lives, and men of dignified conduct, regulating their 
lives, not by pleasure, but by their duty, appears to show that 
the power of wliat is honouralile is greater, and that of plea- 
sure smaller. For some men live in such a manner tliat their 
language is refuted by their lives; and as othei's are considered 
1 Cicero alludes here to the siory of Damon, who, when his friena 
Pyihius w:iM comiemned to death by Dionysius of Syracuse, pledged his 
life for his return in time to be put to death, if the tyrant would give 
bim leave to go home for tho purpose of arranging bis affairs, and 
lVtliia< did ruturn in time. — See Oic. de Off', iii. 10; / j^t. Div. v. 22, 

ACAD. i:rc. :^i 


to speak better than they act, so these men seeni to me to act 
better than they speak. 

XXVI. However, all this is nothing to the purpose. Let 
us just consider those things whicli have been said by yo i 
about friendship, and among them I fancied that 1 recognized 
one thing as liaving been said by Epicurus himself, namely, 
that friendship cannot be separated from j)leasure, and that it 
ought on tliat account to be cultivated, because without it 
men coidd not live in safety, and without fear, nor even with 
any kind of jjleasantness. Answer enough has been given to 
this argument. You also brought forward another more 
humane one, invented by these more modern philosophers, 
and never, as far as I know, advanced by the master himself, 
that at first, indeed, a friend is sought out with a view to 
one's own advantage, but that when intimacy has sprung up, 
then the man is loved for himself, all liope or idea of pleasure 
l)eing put out of the question. Now, although this argument is 
open to attack on many accounts, still I will accept what they 
grant ; for it is enough for me, though not enough for them : 
for they admit that it is possible for men to act rightly at 
times, without any expectation of, or desire to acquire 

You also afhrnied that some people say that wise men make 
a kind of treaty among tliemselves, that they shall liave the 
same feelings towards theirfriends that they entertain for them- 
selves, and that that is jjossible, and is often the case, and that 
it has especial refc;rence to the enjoyment of pleasures. If they 
could make this treaty, they at the same time make tiiat 
otlier to love equity, moderation, and all tlie virtues for their 
own sake, without any consideration of advantage. But if we 
cultivate friendships for the sake of their profits, emoluments, 
and advantages which may be derived from them, if there is 
to be no affection which may make the friendship desirable 
for its own sake, on its own account, by its own influences, by 
itself and for itself, is there any doubt at all that in such a 
case we must prefer our farms and estates to our friends ? 
And here you may again quote those panegyrics which have 
l)een uttered in most eloquent language by Epicurus himself, 
on the subject of friendship. 1 am not asking what he says, 
but what he can possibl}- say wlucli shall be consis'.ent with 
liis own system and sentiments. 


Friendsliip has been sought for for the sake of advantage • 
do you, then, think that my friend Triarius, here, will be more 
useful to you than your granaries at Puteol 1 Think of all 
the circumstances which you are in the habit of recollecting ; 
the protection which friends are to a man. You have suffi- 
cient protection in yoxu'self, sufficient in the laws, sufficient 
also in moderate friendships. As it is, you cannot be looked 
upon with contempt ; hut you will easily avoid odium and 
unpopularity, for precepts on that subject are given by 
Epicurus. And yet you, by employing such large revenues 
in purposes of liberality, even without any Pyladean fi'iendship, 
will admirably defend and protect youisclf by the gooodwill of 
numbers. But with whom, then, is a man to share his jests, 
his serious thoughts, as people say, and all his secrets and 
hidden wishes ? With you, above all men ; but if tliat cannot 
be, why with some tolerably intimate friend. However, grant 
that all these circumstances are not unreasonable ; what com- 
parison can there be between them and the utility ef such 
large sums of money ? You see, then, if you measure friend- 
ship by the affection which it engenders, that nothing is more 
excellent ; if by the advantage that is derived from it, then 
you see that the closest intimacies are surpassed by the value 
of a productive farm. You must therefore love me, myself, 
and not my circumstances, if we are to be real friends. 

XXVII. But we are getting too prolix in the most self- 
evident matters ; for, as it has been concluded and stablished 
that there is no room anywhere for either virtueL or friend- 
ships if everything is referred to pleasure, there is nothing 
more which it is of any great importance should be said. 
And yet. that I may not appear to have passed over any topic 
without a reply, I will, even now, say a few words on the 
remainder of your argument. 

Since, then, the whole sum of philosophy is directed to 
ensm'e living happily, and since men, from a desire of this one 
thing, have devoted themselves to this study : but different 
people make happiness of life to coiisist in different circum- 
stances, you, for instance, place it in pleasure ; and, in the 
same manner you, on tlie other hand, make all unhappinees 
to consist in pain : let us consider, in the first place, what 
sort of thing this happy life of yours is. But you will grant 
this. I think, that if there isreallv anv such thing as haj)piness, 

M i 


it ouiilit to lie wliolly in the power of a wise man to Becure it ; 
for, if a liappy life can l)e lost, it cannot be happy. For who 
can feel confident that a thing will always remain firm and en- 
during in his case, which is in reality fleeting and perishable ? 
But the man who distrusts the permanence of his good things, 
must necessarily fear that some day or other, when he has lost 
them, he will become miserable ; and no man can be happy 
who is in fear about most important matters. No one, then, 
can be happy ; for a happy life is usually called so, not in 
some part only, but in perpetuity of time ; and, in fact, life 
is not said to Ije happy at all till it is couipleted and finished. 
Nor is it possible for any man to be sometimes happy and 
sometimes miserable ; for he who thinks it possible that he 
may become miserable, is certainly not happy. For, when a 
happy life is once attained, it remains as long as the maker of 
the happy life herself, namely, wisdom ; nor does it wait till 
the last period of a man's existence, as Herodotus says that 
Croesus was warned by Solon. 

But, as you yourself were saying, Epicurus denies that 
length of time has nny influence on making life happy, and 
that no less pleasure can be felt in a short time than would 
be the case if the pleasure were evei'lasting. Now these 
statements are most inconsistent. For, when he places the 
chief good in pleasure, he denies that pleasure can be gi'eater 
in infinite time, than it can i-n a finite and moderate period. 
The man who places all good in virtue, has it in his power to 
say that a happy life is made so by the perfection of virtue ; 
for he consistently denies that time can bring any increase to 
his chief good. But he who thinks that life is made happy 
by pleasure, must surely be inconsistent with himself if he 
denies that pleasure is increased by length of time : if so, then 
pain is not either. Shall we, then, say that all pain is most 
miserable in pi-oportion as it is most lasting, and yet that 
duration does not make pleasure more desirable? Why, then, 
is it tliat Epicurus always speaks of God as happy and eternal ? 
For, if ycu only take away his eternity, Jupiter is in no 
respect more hajipy than Epicurus ; for each of them is in 
the enjoyment of the chief good, namely, pleasure. Oh, bat 
Epicurus is also liable to pain. That docs not affect him at 
all : for he says that if he were being burnt, he would say, 
" H ow pleasant it is." In what respect, then, is b^* surpassed 


by the God, if he is not surpassed by him because of his 
eternity? For what good has the God, except the highest 
degree of pleasure, and that, too, everlasting ! What, then, 
is the good of speaking so pompously, if one does not speak 
consistently? Happiness of life is placed in pleasure of body 
(I will add of mind also, if you please, as long as that plea- 
sure of the mind is derived from the pleasure of the body) 
What 1 who can secm-e this pleasure to a wise man in perpe- 
tuity ? For the circumstances by which pleasiu-es are gene- 
rated are not in the power of a wise man ; for happiness 
does not consist in wisdom itself, but in those things which 
wisdom provides for the production of pleasure. And all 
these circumstances are external ; and what is external is liable 
to accident. And thus fortime is made the mistress of hap- 
piness in life, — Fortune, which, Epicm-us says, has but little 
to do with a wise man. 

XXVIII. But you will say, Come, these things are trifles. 
Nature by herself enriches the wise man ; and, indeed, 
Epicui'us has taught us that the riches of nature are such as 
can be acquired. This is well said, and I do not object to it ; 
but still these same assertions are inconsistent with one 
another. For Epicurus denies there is less pleasure derived 
from the poorest food, from the most despised kinds of meat 
and drink, than from feasting on the most delicious dishes;. 
Now if ho were to assert that it makes no difference as to the 
happiness of life what food a man ate, I would grant it, I 
would even praise him for saying so ; for he would be speaking 
the tiTith ; and I know that Socrates, who ranked pleasure as 
nothing at all, said the same thing, namely, tliat hunger was 
the best seasoning for meat, and thirst for drink. But I do 
not comprehend how a man who refers everything to pleasiu-e, 
lives like (Vvllonius, and yet talks like tliat great man Frugi 
Piso; nor, indeed, do I believe that what he says is his real 
opinion. He has said that natural riches can be acquired, 
because nature is contented with a little. Certainly, unless 
you estimate pleasure at a great value. No less pleasure. 
Bays he, is derived from the most ordinary things than from 
the most valuable. Now to say this, is not only not to have 
a heart, but not to have even a palate. For they who despise 
pleasure itself, may be allowed to say that they do not prefer 
a sturgeon to a herring. But the man who places his chief 


good in pleasure, must judge of everything by his sensations, 
not by his reason, and inust pronounce those things best 
wliich are most pleasant. 

However, be it so. Let him acquire the greatest possible 
pleasures, not only at a cheap rate, but, as for as I am con- 
cerned, for nothing at all, if he can manage it. Let there be 
no less pleasure in eating a nasturtium, vrhich Xenophon tells 
us the Persians used to eat, than in those Syracusan banquets 
which are so severely blamed by Plato. Let, I say, the 
acquisition of pleasure be as easy as you say it is. What 
shall we say of pain 1 the torments of which are so great that, 
if at least pain is the greatest of evils, a hapjjy life cannot 
possibly exist in comi)any with it. For Metrodorus himself, 
who is almost a second Epicurus, describes a happy man in 
these words. When his body is in good order, and when he 
is quite certain that it it will be so for the future. Is it pos- 
sible for any one to be certain in what condition his body will 
be, I do not say a year hence, but even this evening? Pain, 
therefore, which is the greatest of evils, will always be dreaded 
even if it is not present. F^ir it will always be possible that 
it may be present. But how can any fear of the greatest 
possible evil exist in a happy life ? 

Oh, says he, Epicurus has handed down maxims according 
to which we may disregard pain. Surely, it is an absurdity 
to suppose that the greatest possible evil can be disre- 
garded. However, what is the maxim? The greatest pain, 
says he, is short-lived. Now, first of all, what do you call 
shortlived ? And, secondly, what do you call the greatest 
pain ? For what do you mean ? Cannot extreme pain last 
for many days ? Aye, and for many months ? Unless, indeed, 
you intend to assert that you mean such pain as kills a man 
the moment it seizes on him. Who is afraid of that pain ? 
I would rather you would lessen that pain by which I 
have seen that most excellent and kind-hearted man, Cnseus 
Octavius, the son of Marcus Octavius, my own intimate friend, 
worn out, and that not once, or for a short time, but very 
often, and for a long period at once. What agonies, ye 
immortal gods, did that man use to bear, when all his limbs 
seemed as if they were on fire. And yet he did not appear 
to be miserable, (because in truth pain was not the greatest 
of evils.) but only afflicted. But if he had been immersed in 


continued pleasure, passing at the same time a vicious and 
infamous life, then he would have been miserable. 

XXIX. But when you say that great pains last but a short 
time, and that if they last long they are always light, I do 
not understand the meaning of your assertion. For I see 
that some pains are very great, and also very durable. And 
there is a better principle which may enable one to endure 
them, which however you cannot adopt, who do not love what 
is honourable for its own sake. There are some precepts for, 
and I may almost say laws of, fortitude, which forbid a man 
to behave effeminately in pain. Wherefore it should be 
accounted disgraceful, I do not say to grieve, (for that is at 
times unavoidable,) but to make those rocks of Lemnos 
melancholy with such outcries as those of Philoctetes — 

Who utters many a tearful note aloud, 

Witli ceaseless groaning, howling, and complaint. 

Now let Epicurus, if he can, put himself in the place of that 

man — 

Whose veins and entrails thus are racked with paiu 

And horrid agony, while the serpent's bite 

Spreads its black venom through his shuddering frame. 

Let Epicurus become Philoctetes. If his pain is sharp it ia 
short. But in fact he has been lying in his cave for ten 
vears. If it lasts long it is light, for it grants him intervals 
cf relaxation. In the first place it does not do so often ; and 
m the second place what sort of relaxation is it when the 
memory of past agony is still fresh, and tlie fear of further 
agony coming and impending is constantly tormenting him. 
Let him die, says he. Perhaps that would be the best thing 
for him; but then what becomes of the argument, tliat the 
wise man has always more pleasure than pain 1 For if that 
be the case I would have you think whether you are not re- 
commending him a crime, wlien you advise him to die. Say 
to him rather, that it is a disgraceful thing for a man to allow 
his spirit to be crushed and broken by pain, that it is shame 
ful to yield to it. For as for your maxim, if it is violent it 
is short, if it lasts long it is slight, that is mere empty verbiage. 
The only real way to mitigate pain is by the application of 
virtue, of magnanimity, of patience, of courage. 

XXX. Listen, that I may not make too wide a digression, 
to the words of Epicurus when dying; and take notice ho 


inconsistent Ins conduct is with his language. " Epicurus to 
Hermarchus greeting. I write this letter," sa}' s he, "while 
passing a happy day, which is also the last day of my life. 
And the pains of my bladder and bowels are so intense that 
nothing can be added to them which can make them greater." 
Here is a man miserable, if pain is the greatest possible evil. 
It cannot possibly be denied. However, let us see how he 
proceeds. " But still I have to balance this a jo}' in my mind, 
which I derive from the recollection of my philosophical prin- 
ciples and discoveries. But do you, as becomes the goodwill 
which from your youth upwards you have constantly dis- 
covered for me and for philosophy, protect the children of 
Metrodorus." After reading this, I do not consider the death 
of Epaminondas or Leonidas preferable to his. One of whom 
defeated the Lacedcemonians at Mantinea,' and finding that he 
had been rendered insensible by a mortal wound, when he 
first came to himself, asked whether his shield was safe? 
When his weeping friends had answered him that it was, he 
then asked whether the enemy was defeated '? And when he 
received to this question also the answer which he wished, 
he then ordered the spear which was sticking in him to be 
pulled out. And so, losing quantities of blood, he died in the 
hour of joy and victory. 

But Leonidas, the king of the Lacedaemonians, put himself 
and those three hundi'ed men, whom he had led from Sparta, 
in the way of the enemy of Thermoj^ylaj,-' when the alternative 
was a base flight, or a glorious death. The deaths of 
generals are glorious, but philosophers usually die in their 
beds. But still Epicurus here mentions what, when dying, 
he considered great credit to himself. " I have," says he, " a 
joy to counterbalance these pains." I lecogiiise in these 
words, Epicurus, the sentiments of a philosopher, but still 
you forgot what you ought to have said. For, in the first 
place, if those things be true, in the recollection of which you 
say you rejoice, that is to say, if your writings and discoveries 
are true, then you cannot rejoice. For you have no pleasure 
here which you can refer to the body. But you have con- 
stantly asserted that no one ever feels joy or pain except with 
reference to his body. "I rejoice," says he, "in tlie past." ]n 
what that is past 1 if you mean such past things a.s refer to 
» B.C. 3G3. - B.o. 480. 


the body, then I see that you are counterbalancing your 
apronies with your reason, and not with your recollection of 
pleasures which you have felt in the body. But if you are 
referring to your mind, then your denial of there being any 
joy of the mind which cannot be referred to some pleasure of 
the body, must be false. Why, then, do you recommend the 
children of Metrodorus to Hermarchus 1 In that admirable 
exercise of duty, in that excellent display of your good faith, 
for that is how I look upon it, what is there that you refer to 
the body ? 

XXXI. You may twist yourself about in every direction 
as you please, Torquatus, but you will not find in this excel- 
lent letter anything written by Epicurus which is in harmony 
and consistent with the rules he laid down. And so he ia 
convicted by himself, and his writings are upset by his own 
virtue and goodness. For that recommendation of those 
children, that recollection of them, and aftectionate friendship 
for them, that attention to the most important duties at the 
last gasp, indicates that honesty without any thought of per- 
sonal advantage was innate in the man ; that it did not 
require the invitation of pleasure, or the allurements of mer- 
cenary rewards. For what greater evidence can we require 
that those things which are honourable and right are desirable 
of themselves for then* own sake, than the sight of a dying 
man so anxious in the discharge of such important duties ? 
But, as I think that letter deserving of all commendation of 
which I have just given you a literal translation, (although it 
was in no respect consistent with the general system of that 
philosopher,) so also I think that his will is inconsistent not 
only with the dignity of a philosopher, but even with his own 
sentiments. For he wrote often, and at great length, and 
sometimes with brevity and suitable language, in that book 
Avhich I have just named, that death had nothing to do with 
us; for that whatever was dissolved was void of sensation, 
and whatever was void of sensation had nothing whatever to 
do with us. Even this might have been expressed better and 
more elegantly. For when he lays down the position that 
what has been dissolved is void of sensation, that is such an 
expression that it is not very plain what he means by the 
word dissolved. However, I understand what he really does 
mean. But still I ask why, when every sensation is extin- 


guished by dissolution, that is to say, by death, and vlien 
there is uothing else whatever that has any connexion \nth 
us, he should "still take such minute and diligent care to 
enjoin Amynomachus and Timocrates, his heirs, to furnish 
every year what in the opinion of Hermarchus shall be 
enough to keep liis birthday in the month Gamelion, with 
all proper solemnity. And also, shall every month, on the 
twentieth day of the month, supply money enough to furnish 
a banquet foV those men who have studied philosophy with 
him, in oi-der that his memory, and that of Metrodorus, may 
be duly honoured. Now I cannot deny that these injunctions 
are in keeping with the cliaracter of a thoronglily accom- 
plished and amiable man; but still I utterly deny that it is 
inconsistent with the wisdom of a philosopher, especially of 
a natural philosopher, which is the character he claims for 
himself, to think that there is such a day as the birthday of 
any one. What 1 Can any day which has once passed recur 
over agtiin frequently. Most indubitably not ; or can any day 
like it recur 1 Even that is impossible, unless it may happen 
after an interval of many thousand years, that there may be a 
return of all the stars at the same moment to the point from 
which they set out. There is, therefore, no such thing as 
anybody's birthday. But still it is considered that there is. 
As if I did not know that. But even if there be, is it to be 
regarded after a man's death 1 And is a man to give injunc- 
tions in his will that it shall be so, after he has told you all, 
as if with the voice of an oracle, that there is nothing which 
concei-ns us at all after death ? These things are very incon- 
sistent in a man who, in his mind, had travelled over innume- 
rable worlds and boundless regions, wliich were destitute of 
all limits and boundaries. Did Democritus ever say such a 
thing as this ? I will pass over every one else, and call him 
only as a witness whom Epicurus himself followed to the 
exclusion of others. 

But if a day did deserve to be kept, which was it more 
fitting to observe, the day on which a man was born, or that 
on which he became wise 1 A man, you will say, could not 
have become wise unless he had been born. And, on the 
same principle, he could not if his grandmother had never 
been born. The whole business, Torquatus, is quite out of 
character for a learned man to wish to have the recollection 


M his name celebrated -with banquets after his death. I say 
nothing of tlie way in which you keep these days, and to how 
many jokes from witty men you expose yourselves. There is 
no need of quarrelling. I only say that it would have been 
more becoming in you to keep Epicunis's birthday, than in 
him to leave injunctions in his will that it should l)e kept. 

XXXII. However, to return to our subject, (for while we 
were talking of pain we digressed to that letter of his,) we 
may now fairly come to this conclusion. The man who is 
in the greatest evil, while he is in it, is not happy. But the 
wise man is always happy, and is also occasionally in pain. 
Therefore, pain is not the greatest evil. What kind of doctrine, 
then, is this, that goods which are past are not lost to a wise 
man, but that he ought not to remember past evils. First of 
all, is it in our power to decide what we will remember. When 
Simonides, or some one else, offered to Themistocles to teach 
him the art of memory, " I would rather," said he, " that you 
would teach me that of furgetfulness ; for I even now recol- 
lect wluit I would rather not; but I cannot forget what I 
should like to." This was a very sensible answer. But still 
the fact is that it is the act of a very arbitrary philosopher to 
forbid a man to recollect. It seems to me a command very 
much in the spirit of your ancestor, ^lanlius, or even worse, 
to command what it is impossible for me to do. What will 
you say if the recollection of past evils is even pleasant ? For 
some proverbs are more true than your dogmas Nor does 
Euripides speak all when he says, I will give it you in Latin, 
if I can, but you all know the Greek line — 

Sweet is the memory of sorrows past.' 

* The Greek line occurs in the Orestes, 207. 

^niroTvia A7J677 TCiJi' KUKwy its (1 ')\VKV. 
Virgil has the same idea — 

Vos et ScyllsEam rai)iem, penitusque sonantes 

Aceestis scopulos, vos et Cyclopia saxa 

Experti ; revocate animos, moestumque timorem 

Pellite : forsan et haec olim meminibse juvabit. — JFn.i. 200 
Which Drjden translates — 

With mo the rocks of Scylla have you tried, 

Th' inhuman Cyclops and his den defied : 

What greater ills hereafter can you bear] 

Kesiime your courage and dismiss year care; 

An hour will come witli pleasure lo relate 

Your sorrows past as benefits of late. 


However, let us return to the consideration of past goods. 
And if you were to utter such maxims as might be capable of 
consoling Caius Marius, and enabling him when banished, 
indigent, and up to his neck in a marsh, to relieve his anguish 
by the recollection of his past trophies, I would listen to you, 
and approve of all you could say. Nor, indeed, can the hap- 
piness of a philosopher be complete or continue to the end, 
if all the admirable discoveries which he has made, and all 
his virtuous actions, are to be lost by his own forgetfulness. 
But, in your case, you assert that the recollection of pleasures 
which have been felt makes life happy, and of such pleasures 
too, as affect the body. For if there are any other pleasures, 
then it is incorrect to say that all the pleasures of the mind 
originate in its connexion with the body. 

But if pleasures felt by the body, even when they are past, 
can give pleasure, then I do not understand why Aristotle 
should turn the inscription on the tomb of Sardanapalus into 
so much ridicule; in which the king of Assyria boasts that he 
has taken with him all his lascivious pleasures. For, says 
Aristotle, how could those things which even while he was 
alive he could not feel a moment longer than while he was 
actually enjoying them, possibly remain to him after he was 
dead 1 The pleasure, then, of the body is lost, and flies away 
at the first moment, and oftener leaves behind reasons for 
repenting of it than for recollecting it. Therefore, Africanus 
is happier when addressing his countiy in this manner — 

Cease, Rome, to dread your foes .... 
And in the rest of his admirable boast — 

For you have trophies hy my labour raised. 
He is rejoicing here in his labours which are past. But you 
would bid him exult in past pleasures. He traces back his feel- 
ings to things which had never bad any reference to his body. 
You cling to the body to the exclusion of everything else. 

XXXIII. But how can that proposition possibly be main- 
tained which you urge, namely, that all the pleasures and 
pains of the mind are connected inseparably with the pleasures 
and pains of the body 1 Is there, then, nothing which ever 
delights you, (I know whom I am addressing.) is there 
nothing, Torquatus, which ever delights you for its own 
sake ? I say nothing about dignity, honouraUeness, the 
beauty of virtue which I. have mentioned before I will put 


all these things aside as of less consequence. But is theie 
anything when you are writing, or reading a poem, or au 
oration, when you are investigating the history of exploits or 
countries, or anything in a statue, or picture, or pleasant 
place; in sports, in hunting, or in a villa of Lucullus, (for if 
I were to say of your own, you would have a loophole to 
escape thi'oiigh, saying that that had connexion with your 
body,) is there any of all these things, I say, which you can 
refer to your body, or do they not please you, if they please 
you at all, for their own sake ? 

You must either be the most obstinate of men, if you 
persist in referring these things, which I have just mentioned, 
to the body, or else you must abandon Epicurus's whole 
theory of pleasure, if you admit that they have no con- 
nexion with it. 

But as for your argument, that the pleasures and pains of 
the mind are gi'eater than those of the body, because the 
mind is a partaker of three times,' but nothing but what is 
present is felt by the body ; how can it possibly be allowed 
that a man who rejoices for my sake rejoices more than I do 
myself? The pleasure of the mind originates in the pleasure 
of the body, and the pleasure of the mind is greater than 
that of the body. The result, then, is, that the party who 
congratulates the other is more rejoiced than he whom 
he congratulates. But while you are trying to make out 
the wise man to be happy, because he is sensible of the 
greatest pleasures in his mind, and, indeed, of pleasures which 
are in all their parts greater than those which he is sensible 
of in his body, you do not see what really happens. For he 
will also feel the pains of the mind to be in every respect 
gi'eater than those of the body. And so he must occasionally 
be miserable, whom you endeavotir to represent as being 
always happy. Nor, indeed, will it be possible for you ever 
to fill up the idea of perfect and uninterrupted happiness 
while you refer everything to pleasm-e and pain. 

On which account, Torquatus, we must find o«t some- 
thing else which is the chief good of man. Let us grant 
})leasure to the beasts, to whom you often appeal as witnesses 
on the sub;ect of the chief good. What will you say, if even 
the beasts do many things under the guidance of their various 
' That is, of the past, the present, and the future. 


natures, partly out of indulgence to other beasts, and at the 
cost of their own labour, as, for instance, it is very visible in 
bringinq; forth and rearing their young, that they have some 
other object in view besides their own pleasure ? and partly, 
too, when they rejoice in running about and travelling; and 
some assemble in herds, in sucli a manner as to imitate in 
some degree a human state. In some species of birds we see 
certain indications of affection, knowledge, and memory; in 
many we see what even looks like a regular system of action. 
Shall there, then, be in beasts some images of human virtues, 
quite unconnected with pleasure, and sliall there be no virtue 
in man except for the sake of pleasure ? and tliough he is as 
superior as can be to all the other animals, shall we still 
affirm that he has no peculiar attributes given to him by 
nature 1 

XXXIV. But we, if indeed all things depend on pleasure, 
are greatly surpassed by beasts, for which the earth, of her 
own accord, produces various sorts of food, in every kind of 
abundance, without their taking any trouble about it ; while 
the same necessaries are scarcely (sometimes I may even use 
stronger language still) supplied to us, when we seek them 
with great labmu'. Nor is it possible that I should ever think 
that the chief good was the same in the case of a beast and a 
man. For what can be the use of having so many means 
and appliances for the carrying out of the most excellent arts, 
— what can be the use of such an assemblage of most honour- 
able pursuits, of such a crowd of virtues, if they are all got 
together for no other end but pleasure ? As if, when Xerxes, 
■with such vast fleets, such countless troops of both cavalry 
and infantry, had bridged over the Hellespont and dug 
through ]\Iount Athos, had walked across the sea, and sailed' 
over the land, if, when he had invaded Greece with such 

' This seems to refer to the Greek epigram — 

Tcv 7air)s Ka\ trovrov dfXftfpdilaaicTi KeAfvOoii, 

NavTTiv rfJTiipov, ■Kf^6iropov TTi\6.')ovs. 
'Y.V rpiacraii Sopdrwv kKarovraaiv e(myei/''Apris 
Zvaprris' alcrxvvfcrd' ovpea Kal TriKaryr). 
Which may be translated — 

Him who the paths of land and sea dis'urli'd, 

Sail'd o'er the earth, walk'd o'er the huiuMed waTO«, 
Three hundred spears of dauntless Sparta curb'd. 
bhame on you, laud and sea, ye willing slaves ! 


Irresistible violence, any one had asked him for the cause of 
collecting so vast an army, and waging so formidable a war, 
and he had replied that he wished to get some honey from 
Hymettus, certainly he would have been thought to have 
undei-taken such an enterprise for an insufficient cause. And 
in like manner, if we were to say that a wise man, furnished 
and provided with numerous and important virtues and 
accomplishments, not, indeed, travelling like him over sea on 
foot, and over moiuitains with his fleet, but embracing the 
whole heaven, all the earth, and the universal sea with his 
mind, had nothing in view but pleasure, we might say that he, 
too, was taking a great deal of trouble for a little honey. 

Believe me, Torquatus, we were born for more lofty and 
noble ends ; and you may see this, not only by considering 
the parts of the mind, in which there is the recollection of a 
countless number of things, (and from thence proceed infinite 
conjectures as to the consequences of them, not very far 
differing from divination; there is also in them shame, which 
is the regulator of desire, and the faithful guardianship of 
justice, so necessary to liumau society, and a firm enduring 
contempt for pain and death, shown in the enduring of 
labours and the encoimtering of dangers.) All these things, 
I say, are in tlie mind. But I would have you consider also 
the limbs and the senses, which, like the other parts of the 
body, will appear to you to be not only the comjianions of the 
virtues, but also their slaves. What will you say, if many 
things in the body itself ajipear to deserve to be prefen-ed to 
pleasure ? such as strength, health, activity, beauty 1 And if 
this is the case, how many qualities of the mind will likewise 
seem so 1 For in the mind, the old philosophers — those most 
learned men — thought that there was something heavenly and 
divine. But if the chief good consisted in pleasure, as you 
say, then it would be natural that we should wish to live 
day and night in the midst of pleasure, without any interval 
or interruption, while all our senses were, as it were, steeped 
in and influenced wholly by pleasure. But who is there, who 
is worthy of the name of a man, who would like to spend 
even the whole of one day in that kind of pleasure 1 The 
Cyrenaic philosophers, indeed, would no; ..bject. Your sect is 
more modest in this respect, though theirs is perhaps the 
more sincere. 


However, let us contemplate with our minds, not. indeed, 
these most important arts, which are so valuable, tha,t those 
who were ignorant of them were accounted useless by our 
ancestors; but I ask you whether you think tliat (I will not 
say Homer, or Archilochus, or Pindar, but) Phidias, or Poly- 
cletus, or Zeuxis directed the wliole of their skill to cause 
more pleasure. Shall, then, an artist propose to himself a 
higher aim, with reference to the beauty of figures, than 
a virtuous citizen with reference to the nobleness of action 1 
But what other cause can there be for such a blunder being 
so widely and extensively diffused, except that he who deter° 
mines that pleasure is the chief good, deliberates not with 
that part of his mind in which reason and wisdom dwell, but 
with his desires, that is to say, with the most trifling portion 
of his mind. For I put the question to you yourself, if there 
are gods, as you think that there are, "how have they the 
power of being happy, when they are not able to feel any 
pleasure in their bodies 1 or if they are happy, though 
destitute of that kind of pleasure, why do you refuse to 
recognize the possibility of a similar exertion of intellect on 
the part of a wise man ? 

XXXV. Read, Torquatus, the panegyrics, not of those 
men who have been praised by Homer, not the encomiums 
piussed on Cyrus, or Agesilaus, or Aristides, or Themistocles, or 
Philip, or Alexander; but read the praises of our own fellow- 
countrjnnen, of the heroes of your own family. You will not 
find any one praised on the ground of having been a cunning 
contriver, or procurer, of pleasure. The eulogies on their 
monuments signify no such thing ; like this one which is at 
one of Our gates, " In whose favour many nations unani- 
mously agree that he was the noblest man of the nation." 
Do we think that many nations judged of Calatinus, that he 
was the noblest man of the nation, because he was the most 
skilful in the devising of pleasures? Shall we, tlien, say that 
there is great hope and an excellent disposition in those young 
men whom we tliiuk likely to consult their own advantage, and 
to see what will be profitable to themselves 1 Do we not see 
what a great confusion of everything would ensue? what 
great disorder? Such a doctrine puts an end to all bene- 
ficence, to all gratitude, wliich are the great bonds of agree- 
ment. For if you do good to any one for jour own sake, 


that is not to be considered a kindness, but only usury ; nor 
does any gratitude appear due to the man who has benefited 
another for his own sake. 

But if pleasure is the dominant power, it is inevitable that 
all the virtues must be trampled under foot. For there are 
many kinds of base conduct, which, unless honourableness is 
naturally to have the most influence, must, or at least it is 
not easy to explain why they should not, overcome a wise 
man; and, not to go hunting for too many instances, it is 
quite clear, that virtue deservedly praised, must cut otF all 
the approaches of pleasure. 

Do not, now, expect any more arguments from me. Look, 
Torquatus, yourself, into your own mind; turn the question 
over in all your thoughts; examine yourself, whether you 
would prefer to pass your life in the enjuyment of perpetual 
pleasure, in that tranquillity which you have often felt, free 
from all pain, with the addition also of that blessing which 
you often speak of as an addition, but which is, in fact, an 
impossible one, the absence of all fear; or, while deserving 
well of all nations, and bearing assistance and safety to all 
who are in need of it, to encounter even the distresses of 
Hercules. For so our ancestors, even in the case of a god, 
called labours which were unavoidable by the most melan- 
choly name, distresses.' I would require you, and compel 
you to answer me, if I were not afraid that you might say 
that Hercules himself performed those exploits, which he 
performed with the greatest labour for the safety of nations, 
for the sake of pleasure. 

And when I had said this, — I know, said Torquatus, who it 
is that I have to thank for this; and although I might be 
able to do something myseif, yet I am still more glad to find 
my friends better prepared than I am. 

I suppose you mean Syro and Philodemus, excellent citizens 
and most learned men. You are right, said he. Come, 
then, said I. But it would be more fair for Triarius to give 

' The Latin is arumnm : perhaps it is in allusion to this passage 
ihat Juvenal says — 

Et potiores 
Herculis cBrwnnas credat, saevosque labores 
Et Venere et coenis, et plunia Sardanapali. 

Sat X. 331 


Bunie Opinion on this discussion of ours. Indeed, said be 
Bniiling, it would be very unfair, at least on this subject: 
fur you manage the question more gently; but this man 
attacks us after the fashion of the Stoics. Then Triarius 
said, Hereafter I will speak more boldly still : for 1 shall 
luiTe all these arguments which 1 have just heard ready to 
my hand ; and I will not begin before 1 see you equipped by 
those philosophers whom you mention. 

And when this had been suid, we made an end both of our 
walk and of our discussion. 


I. I THINK, Brutus, that Pleasure, if she were to speak for 
herself, and had not such pertinacious advocates, would yield 
to Virtue, as having been vanquished in the pi'ecediug book. 
In truth, she would be destitute of shame if she were to 
rt/sist Virtue any longer, or persist in preferring what is 
pleasant to what is honourable, or were to contend that a 
tickling pleasure, as it were, of the body, and the joy arising 
out of it, is of more importance than dignity of mind and 
consistency. So that we may dismiss Pleasure, and desire 
lier to confine herself witliiu her own boundaries, so that the 
sti-ictness of our discussions may not be hindered by her 
allurements and blandishments. For we have now to inquire 
what that chief good is which we are anxious to discover; 
since i)leasure is quite unconnected with it, and since nearly 
the same arguments can be urged against those who have 
considered freedom from pain as tlie greatest of goods. 

Nor, indeed, can anything be admitted to be t;he chief 
good which is destitute of virtue, to which nothing can be 
superior. Therefore, although in that discourse Avliich was 
held with Torquatus we were not remiss, still we have now a 
tnuch sharper contest before us with the Stoics. For the 
•tatements which are made about pleasm-e are not expressed 
with any great acuteness or refinement. For they who 
defend it are not skilful in arguing, nor have those who take 
the opposite side a very difficult cause to oppose. Even 


Epicurus himself says, that one ought not even to argue 
about pleasure, because the decision respecting it depends on 
the sensations, so that it is sufficient for us to be warned 
respecting it, and quite unnecessary for us to be instructed. 
And on this account, that previous discussion of ours was a 
simple one on both sides ; for there was nothing involved or 
intricate in the discourse of Torquatus, and my own language, 
as it seems to me, was very clear. But you are not ignorant 
what a subtle, or I might rather say, thorny kind of arguing 
it is which is employed by the Stoics. And if it is so among 
the Greeks, much more so is it among us, who are forced 
even to invent words, and to give new names to new things. 
And this is what no one who is even moderately learned will 
wonder at, when he considers that in every art which is not 
in common and ordinary use, there is a great variety of new 
names, as appellations are forced to be given to everything 
about which each art is conversant. Therefore, both dialec- 
ticians and natural philosophers use those words which are 
not common in the ordinary conversation of the Greeks ; 
and geometricians, musicians, and grammarians, all speak 
after a peculiar fashion of their own. And even the rheto- 
ricians, whose art is a forensic one, and wholly directed to 
the people, still in giving their lessons use words which are, 
as it were, their peculiar private property. 

II. And, without dwelling on the case of these liberal and 
gentlemanly professions, even artisans would not be capable 
of exei'cising their trades properlj^ if they did not use techni- 
cal words, which are not imderstood by us, though in com- 
mon use among them. Agriculture, also, which is as distant 
as can be from all polite rehneraent, still marks those matters 
with which it is conversant by new names. And much more 
is this course allowable in a philosopher; for philosophy is 
the ai"t of life, and a man who is discussing that cannot bor- 
row his language from the forum, — although there is no 
school of philosophers which has made so many innovations 
as the Stoics. Zeno too, their chief, was not so much a dis- 
coverer of new things as of new words. But if, even in that 
language which most people consider richer than our own, 
Greece has permitted the most learned men to use words 
not in oi'dinary use about subjects which are equally unusual, 
hov much more oiight the same licence to be granted to is^ 

N 1' 


who are now venturing to be the very first of oiir countrymen 
to t juch on such matters 1 And though we have often said, 
— and that, too, in spite of some complaints not only of the 
Greeks, but of those men also who would prefer being ac- 
counted Greeks to being thought our own countrymen, — 
that we are so far from being surpassed by the Greeks in the 
richness and copiousness of our language, that we are even 
superior to them in that particular; we must labour to 
establish this point, not only in our own national arts, but 
in those too which we have derived from them. Although, 
since they have become established by habit, we may fairly 
consider those words as our own which, in accordance with 
ancient custom, we use as Latin words ; such as philosophia 
itself, rheiorica, dialedica, grammatica, geometria, miisica, — 
although they could, no doubt, be translated into more 
genuine Latin. 

Jlnough, however, of the names of things. But with re* 
spect to the things themselves, I am often afraid, Brutus, 
tliat I may be blamed when I am writing to you, who have 
made so much progress, not only in philosophy, but in the 
most excellent kind of philosophy. And if I wrote as if I 
were giving you any instruction, I should deserve to be 
blamed ; but such conceit is far from me. Nor do I send 
letters to you under the idea of making you acquainted with 
what is thoroughly known to you before; but because I am 
fond of supporting myself by your name, and because also I 
consider you the most candid critic and judge of those studies 
which both you and I apply ourselves to in common. I 
know, therefore, that you will pay carefid attention to what 
I write, as is your wont, and that you will decide on the dis- 
pute which took place between your uncle — a most heavenly- 
minded and admirable man — and myself 

For when I was at my villa near Tusculum, an^. was 
desirous to make use of some books in the library oi the 
young Lucullus, I went one day to his house, in order to 
take away (as I was in the habit of doing) the books which I 
wanted. And when I had arrived there, I found Marcus 
Cato, whom I did not know to be there, sitting in the library, 
BUi-rounded by a number of the books of the Sioics. For he 
had, as you know, a boundless desire for reading, one which 
was quite insjitiable, — so much so, indeed, that he was not 


ftfraia of the causefess reproaches of the common people, \mt 
was accustomed to continue reading even in the senate-house 
itself, while the senate was assembling, without, however, at 
all relaxing in his attention to the affairs of the republic 
And now, being in the enjoyment of complete leisure, and 
being surrounded by a great abundance of such treasures, he 
appeared to be completely gorging himself with books, if I 
may use such an expression about so respectable a subject. 
And as it so happened that neither of us expected to see the 
other, he at once rose up on my entrance ; and, after the first 
salutations which are usual at such a meeting, What object 
has brought you here ? said he ; for I presume you are 
come from your own villa, and if I had known that you had 
been there, I should have come myself to see you. I only, 
said I, left the city yesterday after the commencement of the 
games, and got home in the evening. But my object in 
coming here was to take some books away with me ; and it 
will be a pity, Cato, if our friend Lucullus does not some day 
or other become acquainted with all these treasures; for I 
would rather have him take delight in these books than in 
all the rest of the furniture of the \nlla. For he is a youth I 
am very anxious about ; although, indeed, it is more pecu- 
liarly your business to take care that he shall be so educated 
as to do credit to his father, and to our friend Csepio, and to 
you who are such a near relation of his.' But I myself have 
some right to feel an interest in him ; for I am influenced by 
my recollection of his grandfather, — and you well know what 
a regard I had for Caepio, wh(. , in my opinion, would now be 
one of the first men of the city if he were alive; and I also 
have Lucullus himself always before my eyes, — a man not 
only excelling in every virtue, but connected with me both l»y 
friendship and a general resemblance of inclination and sen- 
timent. You do well, said he, to retain a recollection of 
those persons, both of whom recommended their children to 
your care by their wills, and you are right too to be attached 
to this youth. And as for your calling it my peculiar 

' The great Lucullus, father of this young Lucullus, was married 
to Servilia, half-sister to Cato, and daughter of Quintus Servilius Caepio, 
who was killed in the Social war, having been decoyed into an ambush 
by Pompsedius, b.c. 90 The young Lucullus was afterwards killed in 
the battle of Philippi 


business, I will not decline the ofiBce, but I claim you for 
my partner in the duty. I will say tliis also, that the boy 
has already shown me many indications both of modesty and 
of ability; but you see how young he is as yet. To be sure 
I do, said I ; but even now he ought to receive a tincture of 
those accomplisiiments which, if he drinks of them now while 
he is young, will hereafter make him more ready for more 
im{)ortant business. And so we will often talk over this 
matter anxiously together, and we will act in concert. How- 
ever, let us sit down, says he, if you please. So we sat down. 
III. Tiien Cato said : But now, what books in the world 
are they that you are looking for here, when you have such a 
library at home 1 I want, said I, some of the Aristotelian 
Commentaries, which I know are here; and I came to can-y 
them off, to read when I have leisure, which is not, as you 
know, very often the case with me. How I wish, said lie, 
that you had an inclination towards o\ir Stoic sect; for cer- 
tainly it is natural for you, if it ever was so for any one, to 
think nothing a good except virtue. May I not, I replied, 
rejoin that it would be natural for you, as your opinion in 
reality is the same as mine, to forbear giving new names to 
things 1 for our principles are the same, — it is only our lan- 
guage that is at variance. Indeed, said he, our pi'inciples are 
not the same at all; for I can never agree to your calling 
anything desirable except what is honourable, and to your 
reckoning such things among the goods, — and, by so doing, 
extinguishing houourableness, -which is, as it were, tlie light 
of virtue, and utterly upsetting virtue herself Those are all 
very fine words, said I, Cato; but do you not see that all 
those pompous expressions are shared by you in common 
with Pyrrho and Aristo, who think all things equal 1 And I 
should like to know what your opinion of them is. Mine 1 
said he ; do you want to know what I think of them? I think 
that those men whom we have either heard of from our 
ancestors, or seen ourselves, to be good, brave, just, and 
moderate in the republic, — thcvse who, following nature hei- 
self, withoiit any particular learning or system, htive done 
mai.y praiseworthy actions, have been educated by nature 
herself better than they could have been educated by philo- 
sophy, if they had adopted any other ])hilosophy except that 
which ranks nothing whatever amcng the goods except what 


ie honouvable, aiid nothing among the evils except what is 
disgraceful. As for all other systems of philosophy, they differ 
entirely in their estimate of good and evil ; but still I con- 
sider no one of them which classes anything destitute of vir- 
tue among either the goods or the evils, as being of any use to 
men, or as uttering any sentiment by which we may become 
better; but I think that they all tend rather to deprave 
nature herself. For if this point be not conceded, that that 
alone is good which is honourable, it follows that it must be 
impossible to prove that life is made happy by virtue. And 
if that be the case, then I do not see why any attention should 
be bestowed on philosophy; for if a wise man can be misem- 
ble, then of a truth I do not consider that virtue, which is 
accounted so glorious and memorable a thing, of any gi'eat 

IV. All that you have been saying, Cato, I replied, you 
might say if you agreed with Pyrrho or Aristo ; for you are not 
ignorant that they consider that honourableness not only the 
chief good, but also (as you yourself maintain) the only good. 
And if this is the case, the consequence which I see you aim 
at follows necessarily, that all wise men are always happy. 
Do you then praise these men, and do you think that we 
ought to follow their opinion 1 By no means, said he ; for as 
this is a peculiar attribute of virtue to make its selection of 
those things which are in accordance with natui-e, those who 
have made all things equal in such a manner as to consider 
all things on either side perfectly indifferent, so as to leave no 
room for any selection, have utterly put an end to virtue. 
You say right, said I ; but I ask you whether you, too, must 
not do the same thing, when you say that there is nothing 
good which is not right and honourable, and so put an end 
to all the difference between other things 1 That would be 
the case, said he, if I did put an end to it ; but I deny the 
fact — I leave it. How so, said 11 If virtue alone,— if that 
thing alone w^hich you call honourable, right, praiseworthy, 
and creditable, (for it will be more easily seen what is the 
character that you ascribe to it, if it be pointed out by many 
words tending to the same point,) — if. I say, that is the sole 
good, what else will there be for you to follow 1 And, on the 
other hand, if nothing is evil except what is disgraceful, dis- 
honourable, unbecoming, wrong, flagitious, and base, (to make 


this also manifest by giving it many names,) what else will 
there be wliich you can say ought to be avoided 'i 

I will not, said he, reply to each point of your question, aa 
you are not, as I suspect, ignorant of what I am going to say, 
but seeking rather to find something to carp at in my brief 
answer : I will rather, since we have plenty of time, explain 
to you, unless you think it foreign to the subject, tlie whole 
opinion of Zeno and the Stoics on the matter. Very far 
from foreign to the subject, said I ; indeed, your explanations 
will be of great service in elucidating to me the points about 
which I am inquiring. Let us try, then, said lie, although 
this system of the Stoics has in it something rather difficult 
and obscure; for, as formerly, when these matters were dis- 
cussed in the Greek language, the very names of things ap- 
peared strange which have now become sanctioned by daily 
use, what do you think will be the case when we are dis- 
cussing them in Latin 1 Still, said I, we must do so ; for if 
Zeno might take the liberty when he had discovered anything 
not previously common, to fix on it a name that was likewise 
unprecedented, why may not Cato take the same ? Nor will 
it be necessary for you to render what he has said word for 
word, as translators are in the habit of doing whu have no 
command of language of their own, whenever there is a word 
in more ordinary use which has the same meaning. I indeed 
myself am in the habit, if I cannot manage it any other way, 
of using many words to express what the Greeks have ex- 
pressed in one ; and yet I think that we ought to be allowed 
to use a Greek word on occasions when we cannot find a 
Latin one, and to employ such terms as joroeymena and 
apoproegmena, just as freely as we say ephippia and acrato- 
phori, though it may be sufficient to translate these two par- 
ticular words by preferred and rejected. I am much obliged 
to you, said he, for your hint; and I will in preference use 
those Latin terms which you have just mentioned ; and in 
other cases, too, you shall come to my assistance if you see 
me in difficulties. I will do so, said I, with great goodwill ; 
jut fortune favom-s the bold. So make the attempt, I beg of 
you ; for what more divine occupation can we have 1 

V. Those philosophers, said he, whose system I a})prove of, 
consider that as soon as an animal is born, (for this is where 
rre must begin.) he is instinctively induced and excited to 


preserve himself and his existing condition, and to feel attach- 
ment to thciS3 things which have a tendency to preserve that 
condition; and to feel an abhorrence of dissolution, and of 
those circumstances which appear to be pregnant with disso- 
lution. And they prove that this is the case, because, before 
either pleasure or pain has aflFected it, even while it is very 
little, it seeks what is salutary, and shuns the contrary : and 
this would not be the case if they were not fond of their con- 
dition, and afraid of dissolution ; and it would not be possible 
for them to seek any particular thing if they had not some 
sense of themselves, and if that did not influence them to love 
themselves and what belongs to them. From which it ought 
to be understood that it is from the animal itself that the 
principle of self-love in it is derived. But among these natural 
principles of self-love most of the Stoics do not admit that 
pleasure ought to be classed ; and I entirely agree with them, 
to avoid the many discreditable things which must ensue if 
nature should appear to have placed pleasure among those 
things which are the first objects of desire. But it appears to 
be proof enough why we naturally love those things which are 
by nature placed in the first rank, that there is no one, who, 
when either alternative is equally in his power, would not 
prefer to have all the parts of his body in a suitable and 
entire condition, rather than impaired by use, or in any p;\r- 
ticular distorted or depraved. 

But as for the knowledge of things — or if you do not so 
much approve of this word cognitio, or find it less intelligible, 
we will call it KaToX-qxpi'; — that we think is naturally to be ac- 
quired for its own sake, because it contains something which 
has, as it were, embraced and seized upon truth. And this is 
perceptible even in infants ; whom we see amused if they have 
succeeded in finding out anything themselves by reason, even 
though it may be of no service whatever to them. And 
moreover, we consider arts worth attending to on tlieir own 
account, both because there is in them something worth 
acceptance, and also because they depend upon knowledo-e, 
and contain in themselves something which proceeds on 
system and method. But I think that we are more averse 
to assent on false grounds than to anything else which is 
contrary to nature. Now of the limbs, that is to say, of the 
parts of the body, some appear to have been given to iia 


by nature because of the use which they are of to us, as, for 
instance, the hands, legs, and feet, and also those internal 
organs of the body, of which I may leave it to the physicians 
to explain the exceeding usefulness ; but otiiers with no view 
to utility, but for ornament as it were, as the tail is given to 
the peacock, plumage of many colours to the dove, breasts 
and a beard to man. Perhaps you will say this is but a dry 
enumeration ; for these things are, as it were, the first ele- 
ments of nature, which cannot well have any richness of 
language emi)loyed upon them ; nor indeed am I thinking of 
displaying any ; but when one is speaking of more impor- 
tant matters, then the subject itself hurries on the language : 
and then one's discourse is at the same time more impressive 
and more ornate. It is as you say, said I ; but still everything 
which is said in a lucid manner about a good subject appears 
to me to be said well. And to wish to speak of subjects of 
that kind in a florid style is childish ; but to be able to 
explain them with clearness and perspicuity, is a token of 
a learned and intelligent man. 

VI. Let us then proceed, said he, since we have di- 
gressed from these first principles of nature, which every- 
thing which follows ought to be in harmony with. But this 
is the first division of the subject. A thing is said to be 
estimable : for so we may, I think, call that which is either 
itself in accordance with nature, or else which is the efficient 
cause of something of such a character that it is worthy 
of being selected because it has in it some weight worth 
appreciating, which he calls d$ia ; and, on the other hand, 
something not estimable, which is the contrary of the preced- 
ing. The first principles, therefore, being laid down, that 
those things which are according to nature are to be chosen 
for their own sakes, and those which are contrary to it are in 
•ITke manner to be rejected ; the first duty (for that is how I 
translate the word KadrJKov) is, for a man to preserve himself 
in his natural condition ; next to that, to maintain those 
things which ai-e in accordance with nature, and reject what 
is opposite to it ; and when this principle of selection and 
rejection has been discovered, then follows selection in ac- 
cordance with duty ; and then that third kind, which is 
perpetual, and consistent to the end, and con-esponding to 
nature, in which there first bejiins to be i proper undei-stand 


ing of what there is which can be truly called good. Jc: the 
first attraction of man is to those things which are according 
to nature. But as soon as he has received that intelligence, or 
perhaps I should say, notion, which they call Iwoia, and has 
seen the order and, if I may so say, the harmony in which 
things are to he done, he then estimates it at a higher value 
than all the things which he loved at first ; and by thi.s 
knowledge, and by reasoning, he comes to such a conclusion 
that he decides that the chief good of man, which deserves to 
be pi-aised and desired for its own sake, is placed in what the 
Stoics call ofjioXoyia, and we agreement, if you approve of this 
translation of the term ; as therefore it is in this that that good 
is placed to which all things [which are done honourably] are 
to be refeired, and honour itself, which is reckoned among the 
goods, although it is only produced subsequently, still this 
alone deserves to be sought for on account of its intrinsic power 
and worth ; but of those things which are the principal natural 
goods there is not one which is to be sought for its own sake. 

But as those things which I have called duties proceed 
from the first principles of nature, they must necessarily be 
refen-ed to them ; so that it may be fairly said that all duties 
are referred to this end, of arriving at the principles of nature j 
not, however, that this is the highest of all goods, because 
there is no such thing as honourable action in the first attrac- 
tions of nature ; for that is what follows, and arises subse- 
quently, as I have said before. But still it is according to 
nature, and encourages us to desire itself much more than 
all those things which have been previously mentioned. But, 
first of all, w'e must remove a mistake, that no one may think 
that it follows that there are two supreme goods. P'or as, if 
it were the purpose of any one to direct an arrow or a spear 
straight at any object, just as we have said that there is an 
especial point to be aimed at in goods, — the archer ought to 
do all in his power to aim straight at the target, and the other 
man ought also to do his endeavour to hit the mark, and gain 
the end which he has proposed to himself: let this then 
which we call the chief good in life be, as it were, his mark ; 
and his endeavour to hit it must be furthered by careful 
selection, not by mere desire. 

VII. But as all duties proceed from the first principlea 
of nature, it follows inevitably that wisdom itself must pro- 


oeed from the sfime source. But aa it often happens, that he 
who lias been recommctnled to any one considers him to 
whom liu has lieen recommended of more importance than 
him who recommended him; so it is not at all strange that in 
the first instance we are recommended to wisdom by the 
principles of nature, but that subsequently wisdom hei-self 
becomes dearer to us than the starting place from which we 
arrive at it. And as limbs have been given to us in such 
a way that it is plain they have been given for some purpose 
of life ; so that appetite of the mind which in Greek is called 
op/i.77, appears to have been given to us, not for any particular 
kind of life, but rather for some especial manner of living : 
and so too is system and perfect method. For as an actor 
employs gestures, and a dancer motions, not practising any 
random movement, but a regular systematic action ; so life 
must be passed according to a certain fixed kind, and not any 
promiscuous way, and that certain kind we call a suitable 
and harmonious one. Nor do we think wisdom similar to 
the art of navigation or medicine, but rather to that kind 
of action which I have spoken of, and to dancing ; I mean, in- 
asmuch as the ultimate point, that is to say, the production 
of the art, lies in the art itself, and is not sought for from 
foreign sources. And yet there are other points in which 
there is a difference between wisdom and those arts ; because 
in those arts those things which are done properly do never- 
theless not comprise all the parts of the arts of which they 
consist But the things which we call right, or rightly done, 
if you will allow the expression, and which they call Karop- 
Bo'tfjbaTa, contain in them the whole completeness of virtue. 
For wisdom is the only thing which is contained wholly in 
itself ; and this is not the case with the other arts. 

And it is only out of ignorance that the object of the art of 
medicine or navigation is compared with the object of wisdom; 
for wisdom embraces greatness of mind and justice, and 
judges all the accidents which befal mankind beneath itself: 
and this too is not the case in the other arts. But no one 
will be able to maintain those very virtues of which I have 
just made mention, unless he lays down a rule that there 
rs not'uing which is of any importance, nothing which differs 
from anything else, except what is honourable or disgraceful. 

VIII. Let us see now how admirablv these rules fullow from 


those principles which I have ah'eady laid down. For as thia 
is the ultimate (extremum) point, (for you have noticed, I dare 
say, that I translate what the Greek philosopher calls TtA,os, 
sometimes by the word extremum, sometimes by ultimum, and 
sometimes by summuvi, and instead of extremum or ultimum, 
I may also use the w^ord Jinis,) — as, then, this is the ultimate 
point, to live in a manner suitable to and harmonising with 
nature ; it follows of necessity that all wise men do always 
live happily, perfectly, and fortunately ; that they are hin- 
dered by nothing, embarrassed by nothing ; that they are in 
want of nothing. And that which holds together not mor« 
that school of which I am speaking than our lives and for- 
tunes, that is to say, the principle of accounting what is 
honourable to be the sole good, may indeed easily be em- 
bellished and enlax'ged upon at great length, with gi-eat rich- 
ness of illustration, with great variety of carefully chosen 
expressions, and with the most pompous sentiments in a 
rhetorical manner ; but I prefer the brief, acute, conclusive 
arguments of the Stoics. Now their conclusions are arrived 
at in this manner : " Everything which is good is praise- 
worthy ; but everything which is praiseworthy is honourable ; 
— therefore, everytliing which is good is honourable." Does 
not this appear properly deduced 1 Undoubtedly ; — for the 
result which was obtained from the two premises wtiich were 
assumed, you see was contained in them. But of the twc 
premises from wliich the conclusion was inferred it is only 
the major one which can be contradicted — if you say that it 
is not the case, that everything wliich is good is praiseworthy ; 
for it is grar.ted that whatever is praiseworthy is honourable. 
But it is utterly absurd to say, that there is anything good 
which is not to be sought for ; or, that there is anything which 
ought to be sought for which is not pleasing ; or, that if it is 
pleasing it ought not likewise to be loved. Then it ought also 
to be approved of Then it is praiseworthy. But what ia 
praiseworthy is honourable. And so the result is, that what- 
ever is good is also honourable. In the next place, I ask, 
who can boast of a life whicli is miserable ; or avoid boasting 
of one which is happy 1 — therefore men boast only of a life 
which is happy. From which the consequence follows, that 
a happy life deserves to be boasted of; but this cannot 
jH-operly be predicated of any life which is not an honourable 


one. Froir. thia it follows, that a happy life must be an 
honouraljle one. And since the man to whom it happens to 
be deservedly praised has some eminent qualities tending to 
credit and glory, so that he may rightly be called happy on 
account of such important qualities ; the same thing is pro- 
perly predicated of the life of snch a man. And so, if a 
happy life is discerned by its honourableness, then what 
is honourable ought to be considered the sole good. And, as 
this cannot possibly be denied, what man do we say can ever 
exist of a stable and firm and great mind, — whom, in fact, can 
we ever call brave, — unless the point is established, that pain 
is not an evil 1 For as it is impossible that the man who 
ranks death among evils should not fear it, so in every case 
it is impossible for a man to disregard what he judges to be 
an evil, and to despise it. And when this point has been 
laid down, and ratified by universal assent, this is assumed 
next, that the man who is of a brave and magnanimous spirit 
despises and utterly disregards every accident which can 
befal a man. And as this is the case, the consequence is, that 
there is nothing evil which is not disgraceful. And that man 
of lofty and excellent spirit, — that magnanimous and truly 
brave man, who considers all human accidents beneath his 
notice, — the man I mean whom we wish to make so, whom at 
all events we are looking for, — ought to confide in himself, and 
in his own life both past and to come, and to form a favour- 
able judgment of himself, laying down as a principle, that no 
evil can happen to a wise man. From which again the same 
result follows, that the sole good is that which is honourable ; 
and that to live happily is to live honourably, that is, vir- 

IX. Not that I am ignorant that the opinions of philoso- 
phers have been various, of those I mean wno have placed 
the chief good, that which I call the end, in tne mind. And 
altliough some people have followed them very incorrectly, 
still I prefer their theory, not only to that of the three secta 
who have separated virtue from the chief good, while ranking 
either pleasure, or freedom from pain, or the original gifts of 
nature among goods, but also to the other three who have 
thought that virtue would be crippled without some rein- 
forcement, and on tliat account have each added to it one of 
those other particulars wliich I have just enumemted. I, 


howevei as I said, prefer to all these the men, whoever they 
may be, who have described the chief good as consisting in 
the mind and in virtue. But nevertheless, those also are 
extremely absurd who have said that to live witl knowledge 
is the highest good, and who have asserted that there is liO 
diflference between things, and so, that a wise man will surely 
be a happy one, never at any moment of his life preferring 
one thing to another : as some of the Academics are said to 
have laid it down, that the highest good and the chief duty 
of a wise man is to resist appearances, and firmly to withhola 
his assent from them. 

Now people often make very lengthy replies to each of 
these assertions ; yet what is very clear ought not to be long. 
But what is more evident than, if there be no selection made, 
discarding those things which are contrary to nature, and 
selecting those which are according to nature, all that pru- 
dence which is so much sought after and extolled would be 
done away with? If, then, we discai'd those sentiments which 
I have mentioned, and all others which resemble them, it 
remains that the chief good must be to live, exercising a 
knowledge of those things which happen by nature, selecting 
what is according to nature, and rejecting any which are con- 
trary to nature ; that is to say, to live in a manner suitable 
and corresponding to nature. 

But in other arts, when anything is said to have been done 
according to tlie rules of art, there is something to be 
considered which is subsequent and follows upon such com- 
pliance ; which they call cVtyeio'Tj/xanKov. But when we say 
in any matter that a thing lias been done wisely, that same 
thing is from the first said also to have been done most pro- 
perly; for whatever proceeds from a wise man nmst at once 
\ie perfect in all its parts : for in him is placed that quality 
which we say is to be desired. For as it is a sin to betray 
one's country, to injure one's parents, to plunder temples, 
which are all sins of commission ; so it is likewise a sin to be 
afraid, to grieve, to be under the dominion of lust, even if no 
overt act follows these feelings. But, as tliese are sins, not in 
their later periods and consequences, but at once from the first 
moment ; so those actions which proceed from virtue are to be 
considered right at the first moment that they are uu lertakeu, 
and not only when they are accomplished. 


X. lint it may be as well to give an explanation and definitiou 
of the word good, whicli h;is been so often employed in this dis- 
course. But the definitions of those philosophers differ a good 
deal from one another, and yet have all reference to the same 
facts. I myself agree with Diogenes, who has defined good to be 
that which in its nature is perfect. But that which follows, that 
which is profitable (for so we may translate his (L^cAr^/xa), he 
considered to be a motion, or a state, arising out of the nature of 
the perfect. And as the notions of things arise in the mind, 
if anything has become knowii either by practice, or by com- 
bination, or by similitude, or by the comparison of reason ; 
then by this fourth means, which I have placed last, the 
knowledge of good is arrived at. For when, by a comparison 
of the reason, the mind ascends from those things which are 
according to reason, then it arrives at a notion of good. And 
this good we are speaking of, we both feel to be and call 
good, not because of any addition made to it, nor from its 
growth, nor from comparing it with other things, but because 
of its own proper power. For as honey, although it is very 
Bweet, is still perceived to be sweet by its own peculiar kind 
of taste, and not by comparison with other things; so this 
good, which we are now treating of, is indeed to be esteemed 
of great value ; but that valuation depends on kind and not 
on magnitude. For as estimation, which is called d$i , is not 
reckoned among goods, nor, on the other hand, ami)ng evils, 
whatever you add to it will remain in its kind. There is, 
therefore, another kind of estimation proper to virtue, which is 
of weight from its character, and not because of its increasing. 
Nor, indeed, are the perturbations of the mind, which make 
the lives of the unwise bitter and miserable, and which the 
Greeks call irdOr], (I might translate the word itself by the 
Latin morbi, but it would not suit all the meanings of the 
Greek w()rd ; for who ever calls pity, or even anger, a disease 
— morbus)1 but the Greeks do call such a feeling 7rd6o<;. Let 
us then translate it perturbation, which is by its very name 
pointed out to be something vicious. Nor are these pertiir- 
bations, 1 say, excited by any natural force ; and they are 
altof^ether in kind four, but as to their divisions they are more 
numerous. There is melancholy, fear, lust, and that feeling 
which the Stoics call by the common name which they apply 
to both vniiii and body, rjSovTJ, and which I prefer translating 



joy {Icetitid); rather than a pleasurable elation of an exult- 
ing mind. But perturbations are not excited by any force 
of nature ; and all those feelings are judgments and opinions 
proceeding from light-mindedness ; and, therefore, the wise man 
will always be free from tliem. 

XI. But that everything which is honourable is to be 
sought for its own sake, is an opinion common to us with 
many other schools of philosophers. For, except the three 
sects which exclude virtue from the chief good, this opinion 
must be maintained by all philosophers, and above all by us, 
who do not rank anything whatever among goods except what 
is honourable. But the defence of this opinion is very easy 
and simple indeed ; for who is there, or who ever was there, 
of such violent avarice, or of such imbridled desires as not 
infinitely to j^refer that anything which he wishes to acquire, 
even at the expense of any conceivable wickedness, should 
come into his power without crime, (even though he had 
a prospect of perfect impunity,) tlian throiigh crime 1 and 
what utility, or what personal advantage do we hope for, when 
we are anxious to know whether those bodies are moving 
whose movements are concealed from us, and owing to what 
causes they revolve through the heavens 1 And who is there 
that lives according to such clownish maxims, or who has so 
rigorously hardened himself against the study of nature, as to 
be averse to things worthy of being understood, and to be 
indifferent to and disregard such knowledge, merely because 
there is no exact usefulness or pleasure likely to result from it ? 
or, who is there who — when he comes to know the exploits, 
and sayings, and wise counsels of our forefathers, of the Affi- 
cani, or of that ancestor of mine whom you are always talk- 
ing of, and of other brave men, and citizens of pre-eminent 
virtue — does not feel his mind affected with pleasure 1 and 
who that has been brought up in a respectable family, and 
educated as becomes a freeman, is not offended with baseness 
as such, though it may not be likely to injure him personally 'I 
Who can keep his equanimity while looking on a man who, he 
thinks, lives in an impure and wicked manner 1 Who does 
not hate sordid, fickle, unstable, worthless men 1 But wliat 
shall we be able to say, (if we do not lay it 'down that baseness 
is to be avoided for its own sake), is the reason why men 
do not seek darkness and solitude, and then give the reiu 



to every possible infamy, except that baseness of itself detect* 
them by reason of its own intrinsic foulness 1 Innumerable 
arguments may be brought forward to support this opinic>n ] 
but it is needless, for "there is nothing which can be less 
a matter of doubt than that what is honourable ought to 
be sought for its own sake ; and, in the same manner, wdiat i% 
disgraceful ought to be avoided. 

But after that point is established, which we have pre- 
viously mentioned, that what is honourable is tlie sole good ; 
it must unavoidably be understood that tliat which is honour- 
able, is to be valued more highly than those intermediate 
goods which we derive from it. But when we say that folly, 
and rashness, and injustice, and intemperance are to be 
avoided on account of those things which result from them, 
we do not speak in such a manner that our language is at all 
inconsistent with the position which has been laid down, tliat 
that alone is evil which is dishonourable. Because those 
things are not referred to any inconvenience of the body, but 
to dishonourable actions, which arise out of vicious propen- 
sities iyitid). For what the Greeks call KaKia I prefer trans- 
lating by vitiiim rather than by malitia. 

XII. Certainly; Cato, said I, you are employing very 
admirable language, and such as expresses clearly w-hat you 
mean ; and, therefore, you seem to me to be teaching phi- 
losophy in Latin, and, as it were, to be presenting it with the 
freedom of the city. For up to this time she has seemed 
like a stranger at Rome, and has not put herself in the way 
of owY conversation ; and that, too, chiefly because of a certain 
highly polished thinness of things and words. For I am 
aware that there are some men who are able to philosophise 
in any language, but who still employ no divisions and no 
definitions ; and who say themselves that they approve of 
those things alone to which nature silently assents. Therefore, 
they discuss, without any great degree of labour, matters which 
are not veiy obscure. And, on this account, I am now^ pre- 
pared to listen eagerly to you, and to commit to memoiy all 
the names wliich you give to those matters to wliich this 
discussion refers. For, perhaps, I myself may some day have 
reason to employ them too. 

You, then, appear to me to be perfectly right, and to be 
Rjting in strict accordance with our usual Tay of speaking, 


wliea you lay it down that there are vices the exact opposites' 
of virtues ; for that which is blameable ivituperahih) for its 
own sake, I think ought, from that very fact, to be called a 
vice ; and perhaps this verb, vitupero, is derived from vitium. 
But if you had translated /caKia by malitia,^ then the usuage 
of the Latin language would have limited us to one particular 
vice ; but, as it is, all vice is opposed to all virtue by one 
generic opposite name. 

XIII. Then he proceeded : — After these things, therefore, 
are thus laid down, there follows a great contest, which has 
been handled by the Peripatetics somewhat too gently, (for 
their method of arguing is not sufficiently acute, owing to 
their ignorance of dialectics ;) but your Carneades has pressed 
the matter with great vigour and effect, displa^ying in refer- 
ence to it a most admirable skill in dialectics, and the most 
consummate eloquence ; because he has never ceased to con- 
tend throughout the whole of this discussion, which turns 
upon what is good and what is bad, that the controversy be- 
tween the Stoics and Peripatetics is not one of things, but 
only of names. But, to me, nothing appears so evident as 
that the opinions of these two schools differ from one another 
far more as to fiicts than to names j I mean to say, that 
ihere is much greater diffei'ence between the Stoics and Peri- 
patetics in principle than in language. Forasmuch as the 
I'eripatetics assert that everything which they themselves 
call good, has a reference to living happily ; but our school 
does not think that a happy life necessarily embraces every- 
thing which is worthy of any esteem. 

But can anything be more certain than that, according to 
the principles of tliose men who rank pain among the evils, 
a wise man cannot be happy when he is tormented on the 
rack? While the principles of those who do not consider 
paiu among the evils, certainly compels us to allow that 
a happy life is preserved to a wise man among all torments. 
In ti'utli, if those men endiire pain with greater fortitude 
who suffer it in the cause of their country, than those who do 
so for any slighter object ; then it is plain that it is opinion, 
and not nature, which makes the force of pain greater or less. 
Even that opinion of the Peripatetics is more than I can 
' " Malitia, badness of quality .... especially malice, ill-will, spitej 
malevolence, artfulness, cunning, craft." — Eiddle and Arnold, Lat, Diet 



agree to, that, as there are tliree kinds of goods, as they say, 
each individual is the happier in proportion as he is richer in 
the goods of the body or external goods, so that we must be 
forced also to approve of tliis doctrine, that that man is 
happier who has a gi'eater quantity of those things which are 
accounted of great value as affecting the body. For they 
think that a happy life is made complete by bodily advan- 
tages ; but there is nothing which our philosophers can so 
Httle agree to. For, as our opinion is that life is not even 
made in the least more happy by an abundance of those 
goods which we call goods of nature, nor more desirable, nor 
deserving of being more highly valued, then certainly a mul- 
titude of bodily advantages can have still less effect on 
making life happy. In truth, if to be wise be a desirable 
thing, and to be well be so too, then both together must be 
more desirable than wisdom by itself; but it does not follow, 
if each quality deserves to be esteemed, that therefore, the 
two taken together desei-ve to be esteemed more highly than 
wisdom does by itself. For we who consider good health 
worthy of any esteem, and yet do not rank it among the 
goods, think, at the same time, that the esteem to which it is 
entitled is by no means such as that it ought to be prefeiTed 
to virtue. But this is not the doctrine of the Peripatetics ; 
and they ought to tell us, that that which is an honoiu-able 
action and unaccompanied by pain, is moi'e to be desired 
than the same action would be if it were attended with pain. 
AVe think not : whether we are right or wrong may be dis- 
cussed hereafter ; but can there possibly be a greater disagree- 
ment respecting facts and principles 1 

XIV. For as the light of a candle is obscured and put out 
by the light of the sun ; and as a di'op of brine is lost in the 
magniitude of the yEgsean sea ; or an addition of a penny 
amid the riches of Croesus ; or as one step is of no account in 
a march fi-om here to India ; so, if that is the chief good 
which the Stoics affirm is so, then, all the goods which 
depend on the body must inevitably be obscured and over- 
whelmed by, and come to nothing when placed by the side of 
the splendour and imj)ortance of virtue. And since oppor- 
tunity, (for that is how we may translate ei'Kaipia,) is not made 
greater by extending the time, (for whatever is said to be 
opportune lias its own peculiar limit so a right action, (for 


that is how I translate Karop^wo-is, and a right deed I call 
KaTopOwfxa,) — a right action, I say, and suitableness, and, in 
short, the good itself, which depends on the fact of its being 
in accordance with nature, has no possibility of receiving any 
addition or growth. For as that oppoi'tunity is not made 
greater by the extension of time, so neither are these things 
which I have mentioned. And, on that account, a happy life 
does not seem to the Stoics more desirable or more deserving 
of being sought after, if it is long than if it is short; and they 
prove this by a simile : — As the praise of a buskin is to fit 
ihe foot exactly, and as many buskins are not considered to 
fit better than few, and large ones are not thought better than 
small ones ; so, in the case of those the whole good of which 
depends upon its suitableness and fitness ; many are not pre- 
ferred to few, nor what is durable to what is short-lived. 
Nor do they exhibit sufiicient acuteness when they say, if 
good health is more to be esteemed when it lasts long than 
when it lasts only a short time, then the longest possible en- 
joyment of wisdom must clearly be of the greatest value. 
They do not understand that the estimate of good health is 
formed expressly with reference to its duration ; of virtue with 
reference to its fitness of time ; so that men who argv;e in this 
manner, seem as if they would speak of a good death, or a 
good labour, and call one which lasted long, better than a 
short one. They do not perceive that some things are 
reckoned of more value in proportion to their brevity ; and 
some in proportion to their length. Therefore, it is quite 
consistent with what has been said, that according to the prin- 
ciples of those who think that that end of goods which we 
call the extreme or chief good, is susceptible of growth, they 
may also think that one man can be wiser than another ; and, 
in like manner then, one man may sin more, or act more 
rightly than another. But such an assertion is not allowable 
to us, who do not think the end of goods susceptible (jf 
growth. For as men who have been submerged under the 
water, cannot breathe any more because they are at no great 
depth below the surface, (though they may on this account 
be able at times to emerge.) than if they were at the bottom, 
nor can the puppy who is nearly old enough to see, as yet see 
any more than one who is but this moment born ; so the man 
who has made some progress towards the approach to virtue, 


is in less in a state of misery than he who has made no such 
advance at all. 

XV. 1 am aware tliat all this seems very strange. But ae 
unquestionably the previous propositions are true and uncon- 
trovertible, and as these otliers are in harmony with, and are 
the direct consequences of them ; we cannot question their 
truth also. But although some people deny that either 
virtues or vices are susceptible of growth, still they believe 
that each of them is in some degiee diffused, and as it were 
extended. But Diogenes thinks that liciies have not only 
Hucli power, that they are, as it were, g-uides to pleasm-e and 
to good health, but that they even contain them : but that 
they have not the same power with regard to virtue, or to 
the other arts to which money may indeed be a guide, but 
which it cannot contain. Therefore, if pleasure or if good 
health be among the goods, riches also must be classed 
among the goods; but if wisdom be a good, it does not follow 
that we are also to call riches a good; nor can that which is 
classed among the goods be contained by anything which is 
not placed in the same classification. And on that account, 
because the knowledge and comprehension of those things by 
which arts are produced, excite a desu'e for them, as riches 
are not among the goods, therefore no art can be contained 
in riches. 

But if we grant this to be true with respect to arts, still it 
is not to follow that the same rule holds good with respect to 
virtue; because virtue requires a great deal of meditation 
and practice, and this is not always tlie case with arts; and 
also because virtue embraces the stability, firmness, and con- 
sistency of the entire life ; and we do not see that the same 
is the case with arts. 

After this, we come to explain the differences between 
things. And if we were to say that there is none, then all 
life woiild be thrown into confusion, as it is by Aristo. Nor 
could any office or work be found for wisdom, if there were 
actually no difference between one thing and another, and if 
there were uo power of selection at all i-equisite to be exerted. 
Therefore, after it had been sufficiently established that that 
alone was good which was honourable, and that alone evil 
which was disgraceful, they asserted that there were some 
particulars in which those things which had no influence on 


the misery or happiness of life, differed from one another so 
that some of them desei-ved to be esteemed, some to be 
despised, and others were indifferent. But as to those things 
which deserved to be esteemed, some of them had in them- 
selves sufficient reason for being preferred to others, as good 
health, soundness of the senses, freedom from pain, glory, 
riches, and similar things. But others were not of this kind. 
And in like manner, as to those things which were worthy of 
no esteem at all, some had cause enough in themselves why 
they should be rejected, such as pain, disease, loss of senses, 
poverty, ignominy, and things like them, and some had not. 
And thus, from this distinction, came what Zeno called 
TrpoTjyfjiei'ov, and on the other hand what he called airoTrpo-ryy- 
fxevov, as though writing in so copious a language, he chose to 
employ new terms of his own invention ; a license which is 
not allowed to us in this barren language of ours ; althoiigh 
you often insist that it is richer than the Greek. But it 
is not foreign to our present subject, in order that the mean- 
ing of the word may be more easily imderstood, to explain the 
principle on which Zeno invented these terms. 

XVI. For as, says he, no one in a king's palace says that 
the king is, as it were, led forward towards his dignity (for 
that is the real meaning of the word Trporyy/jievov, but the 
term is applied to those who are of some rank whose order 
comes next to his, so as to be second to the kingly dignity ; 
so in life too, it is not those things which are in the first 
rank, but those which ai'e in the second which are called 
7rpor]yfji€va, or led forward. And we may translate the Greek 
by 2)roductu7n (tliis will be a strictly literal translation), or 
we may call it and its opposite promotum and reviotum, or as 
we have said before, we may call -n-poijyi^eyov, prcepositum or 
prcecipuum, and its opposite rejectum. For when the thing 
is understood, we ought to be very ductile as to the words 
which we employ. 

But since we say that everything which is good holds the 
first rank, it follows inevitably that this which we call 
prcecipuum or pi'ceposituvt, must be neither good nor bad. 
And therefore we define it as something indifferent, attended 
with a modcate esteem. For that which they call a8La.(j)opov. 
it occurs to me to translate indlfferens. Nor, indeed, was it 
at all possible that tbei-e should be nothing left intermediate, 

2ji}' Sfi fftRBtl^ A 

'qn^,M< -r-!-J .--..■.- ......•, ,,j- -• -i-i .; -r ■■■r- I'- - r&QC 

writ - in 

■WOT* JOlK i£fr -JUS 

•^S • -■ — - 'iZl 

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aniewL jj za& isui. inni luiva au rajasame ic :uL k us xrcg 'H 


"jj :w.- .^- ^" -- - ^ --- _ ^^ .__..- .'.tjy I'^T reuKo^ mr 

Tg oiiisc a»frs. as w»f ^o^e ^nf creLrt anmre aa dsrr^s in. 
ani-"r- ^ • - ^. - ^. jamoni disure^ by line sj as tw be 
till , acnifi ir^ rytffi^Fm: .aasa. ioii ^cin^ 

ill; _ , jsale 3»idtais; :fuh»jee 

vmua u-± suciiin- ::i--^-:~. _ - '■■-eaa. 

Ban tsiify- usiani ^diur ^risdcii- tm.- 

.seir ^wiL. Fir. aecanse t icrj^^xti .!jj:Ci-ii. -~ j; rf 

■iiac rsErsrciiiL laaruisfr "t _ r nuaiEiciiHC : cm: maa- 

jaauJL IS X JE31i£5 in if TsnsBjv iii.i-:<. n:~u?ifr;ii'rriTnK tit amy be 3Q 

XVTL yrw" ■ditise -r"i nirs •:viaiiL we lupre sccksi j£ as pre* 

:ae^ ^ifetrc simeEiin^ ^i^. ana. scmii ir ccol rascos. Siime 
i:-i - r -TPT— q^r ix :3i3ir jwa -".Lii. iwnh. as amie parriaiiiiar 

^ . _ j3iE. IT xnoxdmL in. "t_ _„i xrs yrmiJ^ — iTniT«t wmBi 

joiisr wmL be nrsET^i. Tnif snne Tuiiik may be r^eccei 
ti>tfii£c» are auiL j3 be ar^arsd. becmsB Tsiey grtaftriTe ffime- 
Tarfrnr jg rmnijgv- : rgiif rcLSS ihr i iTtTmfiTTnisTtiTn of Qot^ 
<*wngmK j5 sHmiin^s if "zui sEosss. 'IT icoii. rtpaliTn. Bus 
^ifflHTemam ^mi. r^HOUiaizi'Ti. \5ir "viiac ::aey vaU eiaa<£ii. is mi^rg 

Tits. ^ 


deposited belongs to the class of right actions, then it must 
be classed among the duties to restore a deposit; and the 
addition of the word "justly" makes the duty to be rightly 
performed : biit the mere fact of restoring is classed as a 
duty. And since it is not doubtful, that in those things which 
we call intermediate or neutral, some ought to be chosen 
and others rejected, whatever is done or said in this manner 
comes under the head of ordinary duty. And from tiiis it is 
understood, since all men naturally love themselves, that a 
fool is as sure as a wise man to choose what is in accordance 
with nature, and to reject what is contrary to it ; and so there 
is one duty in common both to wise men and to fools ; from 
which it follows that duty is conversant about those things 
which we call neutral. But since all duties proceed from 
these things, it is not without reason that it is said that all 
our thoughts are referred to these things, and among them 
our departure from life, and our remaining in life. 

For he in whom there axe many things which are in 
accordance with nature, his duty it is to remain in life ; but 
as to the man in whom there either is or appears likely to 
be a preponderance of things contrary to nature, that man's 
duty is to depart from life. From which consideration it is 
evident, that it is sometimes the duty of a wise man to 
depart from life when he is happy, and sometimes the duty 
of a fool to remain in life though he is misei-able. For that 
good and that evil, as has been often said, comes afterwards. 
But those principal natural goods, and those which hold the 
second rank, and those things which are opposite to them, all 
come under the decision of, and are matters for the reflection 
of the wise man ; and are, as it were, the subject matter of 
wisdom. Therefore the question of remaining in life, or of 
emigrating from it, is to be measured by all those circum- 
stances which I have mentioned above ; for death is not to 
be sought for by those men who are retained in life by virtue, 
nor by those who are destitute of virtue. But it is often the 
duty of a wise man to depart from life, when he is thoroughly 
happy, if it is in his power to do so opportunely ; and that 
is living in a manner suitable to nature, for their maxim is, 
that living happily depends upon opportunity. Therefore a 
rule is laid down by wisdom, that if it be necessary a visa 
man is even to leave her herself. 


Wherefore, as vice has not such power as to afford a ji;sti- 
fying cause for voluntary death, it is evident that it Is the 
duty even of fools, and of those too who are miserable, to 
remain in life, if they are siirrounded by a preponderance of 
thase things which we call according to nature. And since 
such a man is equally miserable, whether departing from life, 
or abiding in it, and since the duration of misery is not any 
the more a cause for fleeing from life, therefore it is not a 
causG'less assertion, that those men who have the power of 
enjoying the greatest number of natural goods, ought to 
abide in life. 

XIX. But they think it is very important with reference 
to this subject, that it should be understood that it is the 
work of nature, that children are beloved by their parents; 
and that this is the first principle from which we may trace 
the whole progress of the common society of the human race. 
And that this may be inferred, in the first place, from the 
figure and members of the body, which of themselves declare 
that a due regard for everything connected with generation 
has been exhibited by nature ; nor can these two things 
possibly be consistent with one another, that nature should 
desire that offspring should be propagated, and yet take no 
care that what is projjagated should be loved. But even in 
beasts the power of nature may be discerned ; for when we 
see such labour bestowed iipon the bringing forth and bear- 
ing of their oflfspinng, we seem to be hearing the voice of 
nature herself Wherefore, as it is evident that we are by 
nature averse to pain ; so also it is clear that we are impelled 
by nature herself to love those whose existence we have 
caused. And from this it arises that there is such a recom- 
mendation by natvire of one man to another, that one man 
ought never to appear unfriendly to another, for the simple 
reason that he is a man. 

For as among the limbs some appear to be created for 
themselves as it were, as the eyes and eai's; others assist the 
rest of the limbs, as the legs and hands ; so there are some 
monstrous beasts born for themselves alone : but that fish 
v/hich floats in an open shell and is called the pinna, and 
that other which swims out of the shell, and, because it is a 
guard to the other, is called the pinnoteres, and when it has 
withdrawn within the shell again, is shut up in it, so that it 


appears that it has given it -n xrning to be on its guar 1 ; and 
also autSj and bees, and storks, do something for the sake of 
others. Much more is this the case witli reference to the 
nnion of men. And therefoi'e we are by nature ada2:)ted for 
companionship, for taking counsel together, for forming states. 
But they think that this world is regulated by the wisdom of 
the gods, and that it is, as it were, a common city and state of 
men and gods, and that every individual of us is a part of the 
world. From which that appears to follow by nature, that 
we should prefer the general advantage to our own. For as 
the laws prefer the general safety to that of individuals, so a 
good and wise man, and one who obeys the laws and who is 
not ignorant of his duty as a citizen, consults the general 
advantage rather than that of any particular individual, or 
even than his own. Nor is a betrayer of his country more 
to be blamed, than one who deserts the general advantage or 
the general safety on account of his own private advantage 
or safety. From which it also follows, that that man desei"\'es 
to be praised who encounters death voluntarily for the sake 
of the repiiblic, because it is right that the republic should 
be dearer to us than ourselves. And since it is said to be a 
wicked thing, and contrary to human nature, for a man 
to say that he would not care if, after his own death, a 
general conflagration of the whole world were to happen, 
which is often uttei-ed in a Greek- verse ; so it is certainly 
true that we ought to consult the interests of those who are 
to come after us, for the sake of the love which we bear 

XX. It is in this disposition of mind that wills, and the 
recommendations of dying persons, have originated. And 
because no one would like to pass his life in solitude, not 
even if surrounded with an infinite abundance of pleasm-es, it 
is easily perceived that we are born for communion and fel- 
lowship with man, and for natural associations. But we are 
impelled by nature to wish to benefit as many persons as 
possible, especially by instructing them and delivering them 
precepts of prudence. Therefore, it is not easy to find a man 
who does not communicate to some other what he knows 
himself; so prone are W3 not only to learn, but also to teach. 
And as the principle is jy nature implanted in bulls to fight 
' The Greek proverb was, i/^oS 6avd tos jaia jxiydrirw irvpl. 


in behalf of their calves with the greatest vigour and earnest- 
ness, even against lions ; so those who are rich or powerful, 
and are able to do so, are excited by nature to preserve the 
race of mankind, as we have heard by tradition was the case 
with Hercules and Libera. And also when we call Jupiter 
all-powerful and all-good, and likewise when we speak of him 
as the salutary god, tlie hospitable god, or as Stator, we mean 
it to be understood that the safety of men is under his pro- 
tection. But it is very inconsistent, when we are disregarded 
and despised by one another, to entreat, that we may be dear 
to and beloved by the immortal gods. As, therefore, we 
make use of our limbs before we have learnt the exact advan- 
tage with a view to which we are endowed with them, so also 
we are united and associated by nature in a community of 
fellow-citizens. And if this were not the case, there would be 
no room for either justice or benevolence. 

And as men think that there are bonds of right which 
connect man with man, so also there is no law which connects 
man with the beasts. For well did Chrysippus say, that all 
other animals have been born for the sake of men and of the 
gods ; but that men and gods have been born only for the 
sake of their own mutual communion and society, so that 
men might be able to use beasts for their own advantage 
without any violation of law or right. And since the nature 
of man is such that he has, as it were, a sort of right of citizen- 
ship connecting him with the whole human race, a man who 
maintains that right is just, and he who departs from it is 

But as, although a theatre is publicly open, still it may be 
fairly said that the place which each individual has occupied 
l^elongs to him ; so in a city, or in the world, which is likewise 
common to all, there is no principle of right which hinders 
each individual from having his own private property. But 
since we see that man has been born for the purpose oi 
defending and preserving men, so it is consistent with this 
nature that a wise man should wish to manage and regulate 
the republic ; and, in order to live in compliance with nature, 
to marry a wife and beget children. Nor do philosophers 
think virtuous love inconsistent with a ■wise man. But others 
say that the principles and life of the Cynics are more suited 
to a wise man ; if, indeed, any chance should befal him which 


might compe\ liim to act in such a manner; while others 
wholly deny it. 

XXI. But iu order that the society, and union, and 
affection between man and man may be completely pre- 
served, they have laid it down that all benefits and injuries, 
which tiiey call wcjieXyyxara and (iXdjXjjAna, are likewise com- 
mon; of which the former are advantageous, and the latte]' 
injurious. Nor have they been contented with calling them 
common, but they have also o.sserted their equality. But as 
for disadvantages and advantages, (by which words I translate 
cvxpr](rTt]iJ.aTa and St'o-j^pT/o-r v'/xara,) those they assert to be 
common, but they deny that they are equal. For those 
things which profit or which injure are either good or evil ; 
and they must necessarily be equal. But advantages and 
disadvantages are of that kind which we have already called 
things preferred or rejected ; and they cannot be equal. 
But advantages are said to be common; but things done 
rightly, and sins, are not considered common. But they think 
that friendship is to be cultivated because it is one of that 
class of things which is profitable. But although, in friend- 
ship, some people assert that the interest of a man's friend is 
as dear to hiin as his own ; others, on the other hand, contend 
that every man has a greater regard for his owm. Yet these 
latter confess that it is inconsistent with justice, for which we 
seem to be born, to take anything from another for the pur- 
pose of appropriating it to oneself But philosophers of this 
school which I am speaking of, never approve of either friend- 
ship or justice being exercised or sanctioned for the sake of 
its usefulness : for they say that the same principles of use- 
fulness may, at times, undermine or overturn them. In 
truth, neither justice nor friendship can have any existence at 
all, unless they be sought for their own sake. They contend 
also that all right, which has any pretence to the name and 
appellation, is so by natiu-e ; and that it is inconsistent with 
the character of a wise man, not only to do any injustice to 
any one, but even to do him any damage. Nor is it right to 
make such a league with one's friends as to share in all their 
good deeds, or to become a partner in every act of injustice; 
aad they argue, with the greatest dignity and truth, that 
justice can never be separated from usefulness : and that what- 
ever is just and equitable is also honourable; and, recipro- 


cally, that whatever is honourable must be also just and 

And to those virtues which we have discussed, they also 
add dialectics and natui'al philosophy ; and they call both 
these sciences by the name of virtues : one, because it has 
reason, so as to prevent our assenting to any false proposition, 
or being even deceived by any plausible probability ; and to 
enable us to maintain and defend what we were saying about 
good and evil. For without this act they think that any one 
may be led away from the truth and deceived ; accordingly, if 
rashness and ignorance is in every case vicious, this power 
which removes them is properly named virtue. 

XXII. The same honour is also attributed to natural philo- 
sophy, and not without I'eason, because the man who wishes 
to live in a manner suitable to nature, must begin by study- 
ing the universal world, and the laws which govern it. Nor 
can any one form a correct judgment of good and evil with- 
out being acquainted with the whole system of nature, and of 
the life of the gods also, and without knowing whether or not 
the nature of man agrees with universal nature. He must also 
have learnt the ancient rules of those wise men who bid men 
yield to the times, and obey God, and know oneself, and 
shun every kind of excess. Now, without a knowledge of 
natm'al philosopliy, no man can see what great power these 
rules have ; and it is as great as can be : and also this is the 
only knowledge which can teach a man how greatly nature 
assists in the cultivation of justice, in the maintenance of 
friendship and the rest of the affections. Nor can piety 
towards the Gods, nor the gratitude which is due to them, be 
properly understood and appreciated without a correct under- 
standing of the laws of nature. 

But I feel now that I have advanced further than I had 
intended, or than the subject before me required. But the 
admirable arrangement of the Stoic doctrine, and the incre- 
dible beauty of the system, drew me on. And, in the name of 
the immortal gods! can you forbear to admire it? For what 
is there in all nature — though nothing is better or more 
accurately adapted to its ends than that — or what can be found 
in any work made by the hand, so well arranged, and united, 
and put together 1 What is there which is posterior, which 
does not agree with what has preceded it 1 What is thertj 


which follows, and does not correspond to what has gone 
before 1 What is there which is not connected with some- 
thing else in such a manner, that if yon only move one letter 
the whole will fall to pieces 1 Nor, indeed, is there anything 
■v'hich can be moved. 

But what a gi-and and magnificent and consistent character 
is that of the wise man which is drawn by them ! For he, 
after reason has taught him that that which is honourable is 
alone good, must inevitably be always happy, and must have 
a genuine right to those names which are often ridiculed by 
the ignorant. For he will be more properly called king than 
Tarquin, who was able to govern neither himself nor his 
family ; he will deserve to be called the master of the people 
more than Sylla, who was only the master of thi-ee pestiferous 
vices, luxuiy, avarice, and cruelty ; he will be called rich 
more properly than Crassus, who would never have desii'ed 
to cross the Euphrates without any legitimate cause for war, 
if he had not been in want of something. Everything will be 
properly said to belong to that man, who alone knows how to 
make use of everything. He will also rightly be called beau- 
tiful, for the features of the mind are more beautiful than 
those of the body : he will deservedly be called the only free 
man, who is neither subject to the domination of any one, nor 
subservient to his own passions. He will fairly be called in- 
vincible, on whose mind, even though his body be boiuid with 
chains, no fetters can ever be imposed. Nor will he wait till 
the last period of his life, so as to have it decided w hether he 
has been happy or not, after he has come to the last day of 
life and closed his eyes in death, in the spirit of the warning 
which one of the wise men gave to Croesus, without showing 
much wisdom in so doing. For if he had ever been happy, 
then he would have borne his happy life with him, even as 
far as the funeral pile built for him by Cyrus. 

But if it be true that no one except a good man is happy, 
and that all good men are happy, then what deserves to be 
cultivated more than philosophy, or what is more divine than 
virtue ? 



I. AxD when he had made an end of saying these things, 
I replied, Truly, Cato, you have displayed a wonderful 
memoi-y in explaining to us such a number of things, and in 
laying such obscure things so clearly before us. So that we 
must eitlier give up having any meaning or wish contrary to 
what you have said, or else we must take time to deliberate : 
for it is not easy to learn thorougldy the principles of a school 
wiiich has not only had its foundation laid, but which has 
even been built up with such diligence, although perhaps with 
some errors as to its truth, (which, however, I will not as yet 
dare to affirm,) but at all events with such care and accuracy. 
Then, said he, is that what you say, when I have seen you, in 
obedience to this new law, reply to the prosecutor on the 
same day on which he has brought forward his charge, and 
sum up for three hours ; and then do you think tliat I am 
going to allow an adjournment in this cause? which, how- 
ever, will not be conducted by you better than those which 
are at times entrusted to you. Wherefore, I desire that you 
will now apply yourself to this one, especially as it has been 
handled by others, and also by yourself several times; so 
that you cannot be at a loss for arguments or language. 

I replied, I do not, in truth, venture to argue inconsiderately 
against the Stoics, not because I agree with them in any 
great degree, but I am hindered by shame ; because they say 
so much that I hai'dly understand. I confess, said he, that 
some of our arguments are obscure ; not that we make then, 
so on purpose, but because there is some obscurity in the 
subjects themselves. Why, then, said I, when the Peripatetics 
discuss the same subjects, does not a single word occur which 
is not well understood? Do they discuss the same subjects? 
said he ; or have I failed to prove to you that the Stoics differ 
from the Peripatetics, not in words only, but in the whole of 
th.e subject, and in eveiy one of their opinions? But, eaid 

4.C-D. ETC. P 


I, if, Cato, you can establish that, I will allow yon to carry 
me over, body and soul, to your school. I did think, said Iw., 
that I had said enough on that point; wherefore answer me 
on that head first, if yc>u please ; and afterwards yon can ad- 
vance what argiiments you please. I do not think it too 
much, said I, if I claim to answer you on that topic as I 
myself please. As you will, said he ; for although the other 
way would have been more common, yet it is only fair to 
allow every one to adopt his own method. 

II. I think, then, said I, Cato, that those ancient pupils 
of Plato, Speusippus, Aristotle and Xenocrates, and afterwards 
their pupils, Polemo and Theophrastus, had a system laid 
down with sufficient richness and eloquence of langiiage; so 
that Zeno had no reason, after having been a pupil of Polemo, 
for deserting him and his predecessors who had established 
this school. And in this school I should like you to observe 
.vhat you think ought to be changed, and not to wait while I 
am replying to everything which has been said by you. For 
I think that I must contend with the whole of their system, 
against the whole of yours. 

And as these men said that we are born with tlie view of 
being generally well adapted to those virtues which are well 
known and conspicuous, I meau justice and temperance, and 
others of the same kind, all which resemble the other arts, 
and differ only for the better in their subject matter and way 
of handling ; — and as they saw that we desired those very 
virtues in a somewhat magnificent and ardent spirit; and 
that we had also a certain instruction, or, I should rather say, 
innate desii'e of knowledge ; and that we were Ijorn for com- 
panionship with men, and for society and communion with 
the human race, and that these qualities are most cons])icuous 
in the greatest geniuses ; — they divided all philosophy into 
three parts; and we see that this same division was retained 
by Zeno : and as one of these parts is that by which the 
manners ars thought to be formed, I postpone the considera- 
tion of that part, which is, as it were, the foundation of this 
question. For what is the chief good I will discuss presently; 
but at this moment I only say that that topic which I think 
we shall be right in calling the civil one, and which the 
(ireeks call -oXitlko?, has been treated of in a dignified and 
(X)pious manner by the ancient Pei-ipatetics and Academicianfii 


who, agreeing in parts, dinered frona one another onh^ in 

III. How many books have these men written on the re- 
public ! how many on laws ! How many precepts in art, 
and, more than that, how many instances of good si)eaking 
in orations have they bequeathed to us ! For, in the first 
place, they said with the greatest degree of polish and fit- 
ness those very things which were to be argued in a subtle 
manner, laying down botli definitions and divisions : as your 
friends have also done : but you have done it in a more 
shabby manner; while you see how brilliant their language 
is. In the second place, with what splendid language have 
they adorned that part of the subject which required ornate 
and impressive eloquence! how gloriously have they ilhis- 
trated it ! discussing justice, and fortitude, and friendship, 
and the method of passing life, and philosophy, and the 
government of the state, and temperance, not like men pick- 
ing out thorns, like the Stoics, or laying bare the bones, but 
like men who knew how to handle great subjects elegantly, 
and lesser ones clearly. What, therefore, are their consola- 
tions? What are their exhortations'? What also are their 
warnings and advice written to the most eminent men 1 For 
their practice in speaking was, like the nature of the things 
themselves, of a two-fold character. For whatever is made a 
question of, contains a controversy either as to the geniis 
itself, without reference to persons or times; or else, with 
these additions, a dispute as to the fact, or the right, or the 
name. And therefore, they exercised themselves in both 
kinds; and that discipline it was which produced that great 
copiousness of eloquence among them in both kinds of ai'gu- 
mentation. Now Zeno, and those who imitated him, were 
either unable to do much in this kind of argument, or else 
were unwHling, or at all events they did not do it. Although 
Cleanthes wrote a treatise on the art of rhetoric, and so too 
did Chrysippus, but still in such a manner, that if any one 
were to wish to be silent, he ought to read nothing else. 
Therefore you see how they speak. They invent new words — 
they abandon old established terms. 

But what great attempts do they make? They say that 
this universal world is our town; accordingly, this excites 
those who hear such a statement. You see. now, hov; great 



a business you are uudertakiug; to make a man who lives at 
Circeii believe that this universal world is merely a town fox" 
himself to live in. What will be the end of this ? Shall he 
set fire to it? He will rather extinguish it, if he has received 
it on fire. The next thing said is that list of titles which you 
briefly enumerated, — king, dictator, rich man, the only wise 
man ; words poured out by you decorously and roundly : they 
well might be, for you have learnt tliem from the orators. 
But how vague and unsubstantial are those speeches about 
the power of virtue ! which they make out to be so great 
that it can, by itself, secure the happiness of man. They 
prick us with naiTow little bits of questions as with pins; 
and those who assent to them are not at all changed in their 
minds, and go away the same as they came : for matters 
which are perhaps true, and which certainly are important, 
are not handled as they ought to be, but in a more minute 
and petty manner. 

IV. The next thing is the principle of arguing, and the 
knowledge of nature. For we will examine the chief good 
presently, as I said before, and apply the whole discussion to 
the explanation of it. There was, then, in those two pans 
nothing which Zeno wished to alter. For the whole thing, in 
both its divisions, is in an excellent state ; for what has been 
omitted by the ancients in that kind of argument which is of 
influence in discussion? For they have both given many 
definitions, and have bequeathed to us titles for definino- • 
and that important addition to definition, I mean the divid- 
ing of the subject into parts, is both done by them, and they 
have also left us rules to enable us to do so too ; and I may 
say the same of contraries ; from which they came to genera, 
and to the forms of genera. Now, they make those things 
which they call evident, the beginning of an argument con- 
cluded by reason : then they follow an orderly arrangement ; 
and the conclusion at last shows what is true in the separate 
propositions. But wdiat a great variety of arguments, which 
lead to conclusions according to reason, do they give us, and 
how dissimilar are they to captious questions ! What shall 
we say of their denouncing, as it were, in many places, tha'; 
we ought neither entirely to trust our senses when unsup- 
pc^rted by reason, nor reason when unsupported by our senses; 
but that, at the same time, we ought to keep the line b'jtweeu 


th.9 tvro clearly marked ? What shall I say more 1 "Were not 
all the precepts which the dialecticians now deliver and teach, 
originally discovered and established by them? And although 
they were very much elaborated by Chrysippus, still they 
were much less px-actised by Zeno than by the ancients. And 
there were several things in which he did not improve on the 
ancients ; and some which he never touched at all. And as 
there are two arts by which reason and oratory are brought 
to complete perfection, one that of discovering, the other that 
of arguing, — both the Stoics and Peripatetics have handed ua 
down this latter, but the Peripatetics alone have given us rules 
for the former, while the Stoics have altogether avoided it. 
For the men of your school never even suspected the places 
irom which arguments might be drawn as out of magazines; 
but the Peripatetics taught a regular system and method. 

And the consequence is, that it is not necessary for one 
now to be always repeating a sort of dictated lesson on the 
same subject, or to be afraid to go beyond one's note-books' 
for he who knows where everything is placed, and how he 
can arrive at it, even if anything be completely buried, will 
be able to dig it up, and will always have his wits about him 
in every disciission. And although men who o,re endowed 
with great abilities, attain to a certain copiousness of eloquence 
without any definite principles of oratory, still art is a surer 
guide than nature. For it is one thing to pour out words 
after the fashion of poets, and another to distinguish on 
settled principles and rules all that you say. 

V. Similar things may be said about the explanation of 
natural philosophy, which both the Peripatetics and Stoics 
apply themselves to ; and that not on two accounts only, as 
Epicurus thinks, namely, to get rid of the fears of death and 
of religion ; but besides this, the knowledge of heavenly 
things imparts some degree of modesty to those who see what 
great moderation and what admirable order there is likewise 
among the gods : it inspires them also with magnanimity 
when they contemplate the arts and works of the gods ; and 
justice, too, when they come to know how great is the power 
and wisdom, and what the will is also, of the supreme ruler 
and master of the world, whose reason, in accordance with 
nature, is called by pliili)Sophers the true and supreme law. 
There is in the same study of nature, an insatiable kind of 


pleasure derived from the knowledge of things; the only plea 
sure in which, when all our necessary actions are performed, 
and when we are free from business, we can live honourably, 
and as becomes free men. Therefore, in the whole of this 
ratiocination on subjects of the very highest importance, the 
Stoics liave for the most part followed the Peripatetics ; so 
far at all events as to admit that there are gods, and to 
assert tliat everything consists of one of four elements. But 
when an exceedingly difficult question was proposed, namely, 
whether there did not seem to be a sort of fifth nature from 
which reason and intelligence sprang; (in which question 
another was involved respecting the mind, as to what class 
that belonged to ;) Zeno said that it was fire ; and then he 
said a few more things — very few, in a novel manner; but 
concerning the most important point of all, he spoke in the 
same way, asserting that the universal world, and all its most 
important parts, were regulated by the divine intellect and 
nature of the gods. But as for the matter and richness of 
facts, we shall find the Stoics very pooi'ly off, but the Peripa- 
tetics very rich. 

What numbers of facts have been investigated and accu- 
mulated by them with respect to the genus, and birth, and 
limbs, and age of all kinds of animals ! and in like mariner 
with respect to those things w^iich are produced out of the 
earth ! How many causes have they developed, and in what 
numerous cases, why everything is done, and what numerous 
demonstrations have they laid open how everything is done 1 
And from this copiousness of theirs most abundant and unde- 
niable arguments are derived for the explanation of the nature 
of everything. Therefore, as far as T understand, there is no 
necessity at all for any change of name. For it does not 
follow that, though he may have differed from the Peripatetics 
in some points, he did not arise out of them. And I, indeed, 
consider Epicurus, as far as his natural philosophy is con- 
cerned, as only another Democritus : he alters very few of his 
doctrines; and I should think him so even if he had changed 
more : but in numerous instances, and certainly on all the 
most important points, he coincides with him exactly. And 
though the men of yoiu- school do this, they do not show 
Kufficient gratitude to the original discoverers. 

VI. But enough of this. Let us now, I beg, consider the 


chief good, which contains all philosophy, and see Tvhether 
Zeno has brought forward any reason for dissenting from the 
original discovei'ers and parents of it, as I may call them. 
While speaking, then, on this topic — although, Cato, this sum- 
mit of goods, which contains all philosophy, has been care* 
fully explained by you, and though you have told us what is 
considered so by the Stoics, and in what sense it is called so-— 
yet ] also will give my explanation, in order that we may see 
clearly, if we can, what new doctrine has been introduced into 
the question by Zeno. For as preceding philosophers, and 
Polemo most explicitly of all, had said that the chief good was 
to live according to nature, the Stoics say that three things 
are signified by these words : one, that a man should live exer- 
cising a knowledge of those things which happen by nature; 
and they say that this is the chief good of Zeno, who declares, 
as has been said by you, that it consists in living in a manner 
suitable to natui-e : the second meaning is much the same as 
if it were said that a man ought to live attending to all, or 
nearly all, the natural and intermediate duties. But this, 
when explained in this manner, is different from the formei". 
For the former is right, which you called KaTupOM/ma, and it 
happens to the wise man alone; but this is only a duty which 
is- begun and not perfected, and this may ha])pcn to some 
who are far from being wise : the third is that a man should 
live, enjoying all things, or at least all the most important 
things which are according to nature; but this does not 
always depend on ourselves, for it is perfected both out of 
that kind of life which is bounded by virtue, and out of those 
things which are according to nature, and which are not in 
our own power. 

But this chief good, which is understood in the third signi- 
fication of the definition, and that li^e which is passed in con- 
formity with that good, can happen to the wise man alone, 
because virtue is connected with it. And that summit of 
good, as we see it expressed by the Stoics themselves, was 
laid down by Xenocrates and by Aristotle ; and so that first 
arrangement of the principles of nature, with which you also 
began, is explained by them in almost these very words. 

VII. All nature desires to be a preserver of itself, in order 
that it may be both safe itself, and that it may be preserved in 
its kind. They say that for this end arts lave been invenled 


to assist nature, among wliich that is acconnted one of the 
most important which is the art of living so as to defend 
what has been given by nature, and to acquire what is want- 
ing; and, at the same time, they have divided the nature of 
man into mind and body. And, as they said tliat each of 
these things was desirable for its own sake, so also they said 
that the virtues of each of them were desirable for their own 
sake. But when they extolled the mind with boundless 
praises, and preferred it to the body, they at the same time 
preferred the virtues of the mind to the goods of the body. 

But, as they asserted that wisdom was the g-uardian and 
regulator of the entire man, being the companion and assistant 
of nature, they said that the especial office of wisdom was 
to defend the being who consisted of mind and body, — to 
assist him and support him in each paiticular. And so, the 
matter being first laid down simply, pursuing the rest of the 
argument with more subtlety, they thought that the goods ol 
the body admitted of an easy explanation, but they inquired 
more accurately into those of the mind. And, first of all, 
they foimd out that they contained the seeds of justice; and 
they were the first of all philosophers to teach that the prin- 
ciple that those w^hich were the offspring should be beloved 
by their parents, was implanted in all animals by nature ; aivd 
they said, also, that that which precedes the birth of offspring, 
in point of time, — namely, the marriage of men and women, 
— w'as a bond of union suggested by nature, and that this was 
the root from which the friendships between relations sprang. 
And, beginning with these first principles, they proceeded to 
investigate the origin and progress of all the virtues; by 
which course a gi-eat magnanimity was engeiidered, enabling 
them easily to resist and withstand foi'tune, because the most 
important events were in the power of the wise man ; and a 
life conducted according to the precepts of the ancient philo- 
sophers was easily superior to all the changes and injuries of 

But when these foundations had been laid by nature, cer- 
tain great increases of good were produced, — some arising 
from the contemplation of more secret things, because there 
is a love of knowledge innate in the mind, in which also tL,3 
fondness for explaining principles and for discussing them 
oi'iginates; and because man is the only animal which lias 


any share of shame or modesty; and because ho alsn c;,vets 
union and society with other men, and takes pains in every- 
Luing which he does or says, that he may do nothing wiiich is 
not honourable and becoming; — these foundations being, aa 
I liave said, implanted in us by nature like so many seeds, 
temperance, and modesty, and justice, and all virtue, was 
brought to complete perfection. 

VIII. You here, Cato, have a sketch of the philosophers 
of whom I am speaking ; and, now that I have given you this, 
I wish to know what reason there is why Zeno departed from 
their established system ; and which of all their doctrines it 
was that he disapproved of? Did he object to their calling 
all nature a preserver of itself 1 — or to their saying that every 
animal was naturally fond of itself, so as to wish to be safe 
and uninjured in its kind ? — or, as the end of all arts is to 
arrive at what nature especially requires, did he think that 
the same principle ought to be laid down with respect to the 
art of the entire life 1 — or, since we consist of mind and body, 
did he think that these and their excellences ought to be 
chosen for their own sakes 1 — or was he displeased with the 
preeminence which is attributed by the Peripatetics to the 
virtue of the mind? — or did he object to what they said about 
prudence, and the knowledge of things, and the union of the 
human race, and temperance, and modesty, and magnanimity, 
and honourableness in general ? The Stoics must confess that 
all these things were excellently explained by the otliers, and 
that they gave no reason to Zeno for deserting their school. 
Thej must allege some other excuse. 

I suppose they will say that the errors of the ancients were 
very gi-eat, and that he, being desirous of investigating the 
truth, could by no means endure them. For what can be 
more pei-verse — what can be more intolerable, or more stupid, 
tlian to place good health, and. freedom from all pain, and 
soundness of the eyes and the rest of the senses, among the 
goods, instead of saying that there is no difference at all 
between them and their contraries ? For that all those things 
which the Peripatetics called goods, were only things pre- 
ferable, not good. And also that the ancients had been veiy 
foolish when they said that these excellences of the body 
were desirable for their own sake : they were to be accepted, 
but not to be desired. And the same mioht be said of all the 


other circumstances of life, which consists of nothing bat 
virtne alone, — that that life which is rich also in the other 
things which are according to nature is not more to be desired 
on that account, but only more to be accei>ted; and, though 
virtue itsslf makes life so happy that a man cannot be hap- 
pier, still something is wanting to wise men, even when they 
are most completely happy; and that they labour to repel 
pain, disease, and debility. 

IX. Oh, what a splendid force is there in such genius, and 
what an excellent reason is this for setting up a new school ! 
Go on ; for it will follow, — and, indeed, you have most learn- 
edly adopted the principle, — that all folly, and all injustice, 
and all other vices are alike, and that all errors are equal ; 
and that those who have made great progress, through natural 
philosophy and learning, towards virtue, if they have not 
arrived at absolute perfection in it, are completely miserable, 
and that there is no difference between their life and that of 
the most worthless of men, — as Plato, that greatest of men, 
if he was not thoroughly wise, lived no better, and in no 
respect more happily, than the most worthless of men. This 
is. forsooth, the Stoic correction and improvement of the old 
philosophy ; but it can never find any entrance into the city, 
or the forum, or the senate-house. For who could endure to 
hear a man, who professed to be a teacher of how to pass life 
with dignity and wisdom, speaking in such a manner — altering 
the names of things; and though he was in reality of the 
same opinion as every one else, still giving new names to the 
things to which he attributed just the same force that others 
did, without proposing the least alteration in the ideas to be 
entertained of them 1 Would the advocate of a cause, wdieu 
summing up for a defendant, deny that exile or the confisca- 
tion of his client's property w^as an evil 1 — that these things 
were to be rejected, though not to be lied from 1— or would 
he say that a judge ought not to be merciful 1 

But if he were speaking in the public assembly, — if Han- 
nibal had arrived at the gates and had di-iven his javelin into 
the wall, would he deny that it was an evil to be taken pri- 
soner, to be sold, to be slain, to lose one's country'^ Or could 
the senate, when it was voting a triumph to Africanus, have 
expressed itself, — Because by his virtue and good fortune . . . 
if there :iou\d not properly be said to be any virtue or any 


good fortune except in a wise man 1 What sort of a philo 
sophy, then, is that which speaks in the ordinary manner in tl:ie 
forum, but in a peculiar style of its own in books 1 especially 
when, as tliey intimate themselves in all they say, no innova- 
tions are made by them in the foots, — none of the thinga 
themselves are changed, but they remain exactly the same, 
though in another manner. For what difference does it make 
whether jou call riches, and power, and health goods, or only 
things preferred, as long as the man who calls them goods 
attributes no more to them than you do who call them things 
preferred 1 Therefore, Pansetius— a noble and dignified man, 
worthy of the intimacy which he enjoyed with Scipio and 
Ljclius— when he was writing to QuintusTubero on the subject 
of bearing pain, never once asserted, what ought to have been 
his main argument, if it could liave been proved, that pain 
was not an evil ; but he explained what it was, and what its 
character was, and what amount of disagreeableness there 
was in it, and what was the proper method of endixring it; 
and (for he, too, was a Stoic) all that preposterous language 
of the school appears to me to be condemned by these senti- 
ments of his. 

X. But, however, to come, Cato, more closely to what 
you have been saying, let us treat this question more nar- 
rowly, and compare what you have just said with those asser- 
tions which I prefer to yours. Now, those arguments which 
you employ in common with the ancient.s, we may make use 
of as admitted. But let us, if you please, confine our dis- 
cussion to those which are disputed. I do please, said he : I 
am very glad to have the question argued with more subtlety, 
and, as you call it, more closely ; for what you have hitherto 
advanced are mere popular assertions, but from you I expect 
something more elegant. From me 1 said I. However, I will 
try; and, if I cannot find arguments enough, I will not be 
above having recourse to those which you call popular. 

But let me first lay down this position, that we ai'e ?(» 
recommended to ourselves by nature, and that we have thi> 
principal desire implanted in us by nature, that our first v.ish 
is to preserve ourselves. This is agreed. It follows, that we 
must take notice what we are, that so we may preserve our- 
selves in that character of which we ought to be. We are, 
therefore, men : we consist of mind and body, — which aro 


tilings of a particular description, — and we ought, as our first 
natural desire reqnii-es, to love these parts of ourselves, and 
from them to establish this summit of the chief and highest 
good, wiiit'h, if our first principles are true, must be esta^ 
blished in such a way as to acquire as many as possible of 
those tilings which are in accordance with nature, and espe- 
cially all the most important of them. This, then, is the chief 
good which they aimed at. I have expressed it more dif- 
fusely, — they call it briefly, living according to nature. Tliis 
is what appears to them to be the chief good. 

XI. Come, now let them teach us, or i-ather do so yourself, 
(for who is better able 1) in what way you proceed from these 
principles, and prove that to live honourably (for that is the 
meaning of living according to virtue, or in a manner suitable 
to nature) is the chief good; and in what manner, or in what 
place, you on a sudden get rid of the body, and leave all 
those things which, as they are according to nature, are out 
of our own power ; and, lastly, how vou get rid of duty 

I ask, therefore, how it is that all these recommendations, 
having proceeded from nature, are suddenly abandoned by 
wisdom 1 But if it were not the chief good of man that we 
were inquiring into, but only that of some animal, and if he 
were nothing except mind (for we may make such a supposi- 
tion as that, in oi'der more easily to discover the truth), still 
this chief good of yours would not belong to that mind. 
For it would wish for good health, for freedom from pain; it 
would also desire the preservation of itself, and the guardian- 
ship of these qualities, and it would appoint as its own end to 
live according to nature, which is, as I have said, to have 
those things which are according to nature, either all of them, 
or most of them, and all the most important ones. For 
whatever kind of animal you make him out, it is necessary, 
even though he be incorpoi'eal, as we are supposing him, 
Btill that there must be in the mind something like those 
qualities which exist in the body; so that the chief good 
Cixnnot possibly be defined in any other manner but that 
tvhich I have mentioned. 

But Chrysippus, when explaining the differences between 
living creatures, says, that some excel in their bodies, others 
ill their minds, some in both. And then he argues that 


there ought to be a separate chief good for each description 
of creature. But as he had placed man iu such a class that 
he attributed to him excellence of mind, he determined that 
his chief good was not that he appeared to excel in mind, but 
that he appeared to be nothing else but mind. 

XII. But in one case the chief good might rightly be 
placed in virtue alone, if there were any animal which con- 
sisted wholly of mindj and that, too, in such a manner that 
that mind had in itself nothing that was according to nature, 
as health is. But it cannot even be imagined what kind of 
thing that is, so as not to be inconsistent with itself. But if 
lie says that some things are obscure, and are not visible 
because they are very small, we also adrcit that; as Epicui'u& 
says of pleasure, that those pleasures which are very small 
are often obscui'ed and overwhelmed. But that kind has not 
so many advantages of body, nor any which last so long, or 
are so great. Therefore, in those in which obscuration follows 
because of their littleness, it oft-An happens that we confess 
that it makes no difference to us whether they exist at all or 
not; just as when the sun is out, as you yourself said, it is ot 
no consequence to add the light of a candle, or to add a 
penny to the i-iches of Croesus. But in those matters in 
which so great an obscuration dees not take place, it may 
still be the case, that the matter which makes a dift'erence is 
of no great consequence. As if, when a man had lived ten 
years agreeably, an additional month's life of equal pleasant- 
ness were given to him, it would be good, because any addi- 
tion has some power to produce what is agreeable; but if 
that is not admitted, it does Lot follow that a happiness of 
life is at once put an end to. 

But the goods of the body are more like this instance 
which I have just mentioned. For they admit of additions 
worthy of having pains taken about them; so that on this 
point the Stoics appear to me sometimes to be joking, when 
they say that, if a bottle or a comb Avere given as an addition 
to a life which is being passed with virtue, a wise man would 
rather choose that life, because these additions were given to 
it, but yet that he would not be happier on that account. 
Now, is not this simile to be upset by ridicule ratlier than by 
serious discoui-se 1 For who would not be deservedly ridi- 
ouled, if he were anxious whether he had another bottle ol 


not? But if any one rclieverf a person from any affect'.ori cf 
the liuibsi, or from the pain of any disease, he vriA recei/e 
great gratitude. And if that wise man of yours is put on 
the rack of torture by a tyrant, he will not display the same 
countenance as if he liad lost his bottle ; but, as entering upon 
a serious and difficult contest, seeing that he will have to 
fight with a capital enemy, namely, pain, he will summon 
up all his principles of fortitude and patience, by whose 
assistance he will proceed to face that difficult and important 
battle, as I have called it. 

We will not inquire, then, what is obscured, or what is 
destroyed, because it is something veiy small ; but what is of 
such a character as to complete the whole sum of happiness. 
One pleasure out of many may be obscured in that life of 
pleasure ; but still, however small an one it may be, it is a 
part of that life which consists wholly of pleasure. One coin 
is lost of the riches of Croesus, still it is a part of his riches. 
Wherefore those things, too, which we say are according to 
nature, may be obscured in a happy life, still they must be 
parts of the happj^ life. 

XIII. But if, as we ought to agi-ee, there is a certain na- 
tural desire which longs for those things which are according 
to nature, then, when taken altogether, they must be consider- 
able in amount. And if this point is established, then we 
may be allowed to inquire about those things at our leisure, 
and to investigate the greatness of them, and their excellence, 
and to examine what influence each has on living happily, 
and also to consider the very obscurations themselves, which, 
on account of their smallness, are scarcely ever, or I may say 
never, visible. 

What should I say about that as to which there is no 
dispute 1 For there is no one who denies that that which is 
the standard to which everything is refeiTed resembles every 
nature, and that is the chief thing which is to be desired. 
For every nature is attached to itself For what nature is 
there which ever deserts itself, or any portion of itself, or 
any one of its parts or faculties, or, in short, any one of those 
things, or motions, or states which are in accordance with 
nature 1 And what nature has ever been forgetful of ita 
original purpose and establishment 1 There has never been 
one which does not observe this law from first to last How, 


then, dues it happen that the nature of man is the only one 
wliich ever abandons man, which forgets the body, which 
places the chief good, not in the whole man, but in a part of 
man ? And how, as they themselves admit, and as is agreed 
upon by all, will it be preserved, so that that ultimate good 
of nature, which is the subject of our inquiry, shall resemble 
every nature ? For it would resemble them, if in other 
natures also there were some ultimate point of excellence. 
For then that would seem to be the chief good of the Stoics. 
Why, then, do you hesitate to alter the principles of nature ? 
For why do you say that every animal, the moment that it 
is born, is prone to feel love for itself, and is occupied in its 
own preservation 1 Why do you not rather say that every 
animal is inclined to that which is most excellent in itself, 
and is occupied in the giiardianship of that one thing, and 
that the other natures do nothing else but preserve that 
quality which is the best in each of them 1 But how can it 
be the best, if there is nothing at all good besides 1 But if 
the other things are to be desired, why, then, is not that 
which is the chief of all desirable things inferred from the 
desire of all those things, or of the most numerous and im- 
portant of them 1 as Phidias can either begin a statue from 
the beginning, and finish it, or he can take one which has 
been begun by another, and complete that. 

Now wisdom is like this : for wisdom is not herself the 
parent of man, but she has received him after he has been 
commenced by nature. And without regard to her, she 
ought to complete that work of her's, as an artist would 
complete a statue. What kind of man, then, is it that nature 
has commenced 1 and what is the office and task of wisdom 1 
What is it that ought to be finished and completed by her ? 
If there is nothing to be made further in man, except some 
kind of motion of the mind, that is to say, reason, then it 
follows, that the ultimate object is to mould the life according 
to vix'tue. For the perfection of reason is virtue. If there 
is nothing biit body, then the chief goods must be good 
health, freedom fi'om pain, beauty, and so on. The question 
at this moment is about the chief good of man. 

XIV. Why do we hesitate, then, to inquire as to his whole 
nature, what has been done 1 For as it is agreed tj all, that 
the whole duty and office of wisdom is to be occupied about 


the culti ration of man, some (that you may not think that 
I am arguing against none but tlic Stoics) bring forward 
opinions in which tiiey place the chief good among things of 
ii kind wliicli are wholly out of our own power, just as if 
they were speaking of one of the brute beasts ; others, on 
the contrary, as if man had no body at all, so entirely 
exclude everything from their consideration except the mind, 
(and this, too, while the mind itself, in their philosophy, ia 
not some unintelligible kind of vacuum, but something which 
exists in some particular species of body,) that even that is 
not content with virtue alone, but requii^es freedom from 
pain. So that both these classes do the same thing, as if 
they neglected the left side of a man, and took care only of 
the right ; or as if they (as Herillus did) attended only to 
the knowledge of the mind itself, and passed over all action. 
For it is but a crippled system which all those men set up 
who pass over many things, and select some one in particular 
to adhere to. But that is a perfect and full system which 
those adopt who, while inquiring about the chief good of 
man, pass over in their inquiiy no part either of his mind or 
body, so as to leave it unprotected. But your school, Cato. 
because virtue holds, as we all admit, the highest and most 
excellent place in man, and because we think those who are 
wise men, perfect and admirable men, seeks entirely to dazzle 
the eyes of our minds with the splendour of virtue. For in 
every living creature there is some one principal and most 
excellent thing, as, for instance, in horses and dogs; but 
those must be free from pain and in good health. Therefore, 
you dc not seem to me to pay sufficient attention tc what the 
general path and progress of nature is. For it does not 
pursue the same course in man that it does in corn, (which, 
when it has advanced it from the blade to the ear, it leaves 
and considers the stubble as nothing,) and leave him as soon 
as it has conducted him to a state of reason. For it is 
always taking something additional, without ever abanioning 
what it has previously given. Therefoi-e, it has added reason 
to the senses; and when it has perfected his reason, it still 
does not abandon the senses. 

As if the culture of the vine, the object of which is 
to cause tin vine, wnth all its parts, to be in the best possible 
ooudition, (however that is what we understand it to be, fo' 


ore may, as you often do yourselves, suppose ai;ytliing for 
tiae purpose of illustration,) if. then, that cultui-e of tlie vine 
be iu the vine itself, it would, I presume, desire everything 
else which concerns the cultivation of the vine, to be as it has 
been before. But it would prefer itself to every separate 
part of the vine, and it would feel sure that nothing in the 
vine was better than itself. In like manner sense, when it 
has been added to nature, protects it indeed, but it also 
protects itself. But when reason is also added, then it is 
placed in a position of such pi-edominant power, that all 
those first principles of nature are put under its guardian- 
ship. Therefore it does not abandon the care of those things 
over which it is so set, that its duty is to regulate the entire 
life : so that we cannot sufficiently marvel at their incon- 
sistency. For they assert that the natural appetite, which they 
call opfx.ri, and also duty, and even virtue herself, are all pro- 
tectors of those tilings which are according to natvu'e. But 
when tliey wish to arrive at the chief good, they overleap 
everything, and leave us two tasks instead of one — namely, 
to choose some things and desire others, instead of including 
both under one head. 

XV. But now you say that virtue cannot properlj^ be esta- 
blished, if those things which are external to virtue have 
any influence on living happily. But the exact contrary is 
the case. For virtue cannot possibly be introduced, luiless 
everything which it chooses and which it neglects is all 
referred to one general end. For if we entirely neglect 
ourselves, we then fall into the vices and errors of Ariston, 
and shall forget the principles which we have attributed 
to virtue itself. But if we do not neglect those things, and 
yet do not refer them to the chief good, we shall not be very 
far removed from the trivialities of Herillus. For we shall 
have to adopt two different plans of condvict in life : for he 
makes out that there are two chief goods unconnected with 
each other ; but if they were real goods, they ought to be 
united ; but at present they are separated, so that they never 
can be united. But nothing can be more perverse than this. 
Therefore, the fact is exactly contrary to your assertion : fur 
virt'i,-) cannot possibly be established firmly, unless it main- 
tains those things which are the principles of nature aa 
having an influence on the object. For we have been looking 

ACAD, KTC. ti 


for a virtue which should presei-ve nature, not for one which 
ehould aliandon it. But that of yours, as you represent it, 
preserves only one part, and abandons the rest. 

And, indeed, if the custom of man could speak, this would 
be its language. That its first beginnings were, as it were, 
beginnings of desire that it might presei-ve itself in that 
nature in which it had been born. For it had not yet been 
sufficiently explained what nature desired above all things. 
Let it therefore be explained. What else then will be under- 
stood but that no part of nature is to be neglected 1 And if 
there is nothing in it besides reason, then the chief good must 
be in virtue alone. But if there is also body, then will that 
explanation of nature have caused us to abandon the behef 
which we held before the explanation. Is it, then, being in 
a manner suitable to nature to abandon nature 1 As some 
philosophers do, when having begun with the senses they 
have seen something more important and divine, and then 
abandoned the senses ; so, too, these men, when they had 
beheld the beauty of virtue developed in its desire for par- 
ticular things, abandoned everything which they had seen 
for the sake'of virtue herself, forgetting that the whole nature 
of desirable things was so extensive that it remained from 
beginning to end ; and they do not understand that they are 
taking away the very foundations of these beautiful and 
admirable things. 

XVI. Therefore, all those men appear to me to have made 
a blunder who have pronounced tlie chit" good to be to live 
honourably. But some have erred moi'e than others,— 
Pyrrho above all, who, having fixed on virtue as the chief 
good, refuses to allow that there is anything else in the world 
deserving of being desired ; and, next to him, Aristo, who 
did not, indeed, venture to leave nothing else to be desired, 
but who introduced influence, by which a wise man might 
be excited, and desire whatever occuired to his mind, and 
whatever even appeared so to occur. He was more right than 
Pyrrho, inasmuch as he left man some kind of desire ; but 
worse than the rest, inasmuch as he departed wholly from 
nature : but the Stoics, because they place the chief good in 
virtue alone, resemble these men : but inasmuch as they 
seek for a principle of duty, they are superior to Pyrrho ; and 
as they do not admit the desire of those objects which offer 


themselves to the imagination, they ai-e more coiTect than 
Aristo; but, inasmuch as they do uot add the things wliicii 
they admit to be adopted by nature, and to be worthy cf 
being chosen for their own sakes, to the chief good, tliey here 
desert nature, and are in some degree not different from 
Aristo : for he invented some strange kinds of occun-ences ; 
but these men recognise, indeed, the principles of nature, but 
still they disconnect them from the perfect and chief good ; 
and when they put them forward, so that there may be some 
selection of things, they appear to follow nature; but when 
they deny that they have any influence in making life happy, 
they again abandon nature. 

And hitherto I have been showing how destitute Zeno was 
of anv good reason for abandoning the autliority of previous 
philosophers : now let us consider the rest of his arguments ; 
unless, indeed, Cato, you wish to make any reply to what 
I have been saying, or unless we are getting tedious. Kei- 
ther, said he ; for I wish this side of the question to be com- 
pletely argued by you ; nor does your discourse seem to me 
to be at all tedious. I am glad to hear it, I replied ; for 
what can be more desirable for me than to discuss the siib- 
ject of virtue with Cato, who is the most virtuous of men in 
every point 1 But, first of all, remark that that imposing 
sentiment of yours, which brings a whole family after it, 
namely, that what is hc-uourable is the only good, and that 
to live honourably is the chief good, will be shared in common 
with you by all who define the chief good as consisting in 
virtue alone ; and, as to what you say, that virtue cannot be 
formed if anything except what is honourable is included in 
the account, the same statement will be made by those whom 
I have just named. But it appeared to me to be fairei*, 
advancing from one common beginning, to see where Zeno, 
while disputing with Polemo, from whom ho had learnt 
what the principles of natvn-e were, first took his stand, and 
what the original cause of the controversy was ; and not to 
stand on their side, who did not even allow that their own 
chief good was derived from nature, and to employ the 
same arguments which they did, and to maintain the same 

XVII. But I am very far from approving this conduct of 
yours, that when you have proved^, as you imagine, that that 



alone is good which is liononrable, tlien say again that it is 
necessary that beginnings should be ])Ut forward which ai-e 
suitable and adaj>ted to nature ; by a selection from which 
virtue might be called into existence. For virtue ought not 
to have been stated to consist in selection, so that that very 
thing which was itself the chief good, was to acquire something 
besides itself; for all things which are to be taken, or chosen, 
or desired, ouglit to exist in the chief good, so that he who 
has attained that may want nothing more. Do you not see 
how evident it is to those men whose chief good consists in 
pleasure, what they ought to do and what they ought not? 
so that no one of them doubts what all their duties ought to 
regard, what they ought to pursue, or avoid. Let this, then, 
be the chief good which is now defended by me ; it will be 
evident in a moment what are the necessary duties and 
actions. But you, who set before yourselves another end 
except what is right and honourable, will not be able to find 
out where your principle of duty and action is to originate. 

Therefore you are all of you seeking for this, and so are 
those who say that they pursue whatever comes into their 
mind and occurs to them ; and you return to natm-e. But 
nature will fairly reply to you, that it is not true that the 
chief happiness of life is to be sought in aunther quarter, but 
the principles of action in herself : for that there is one 
system only, in which both the principles of action and the 
chief good too is contained ; and that, as the ojjinion of Aristo 
is exploded, when he says that one thing does not difi'er from 
another, and that there is nothing except virtue and vice in 
which there was any difference whatever ; so, too, Zeno was 
in the wrong, who affirmed that there was no influence in 
anything, except virtue or vice, of the very least power to 
assist in the attainment of the chief good : and as that had 
no influence on making life happy, but only in creating a 
desire for things, he said that there was some power of atti-ac- 
tion in them : just as if this desire had no reference to the 
acquisition of the chief good. But what can be less con- 
sistent than what they say, namely, that when they have 
obtained the knowledge of the chief good they then retui-n 
to nature, in order to seek in it the principle of action, that 
is to say, of duty ? For it is not the principle of action or 
duty which impels them to desire those things which are 


according to nature ; but desire and action are both set in 
motion by those things. 

XVIII. Now I come to those brief statements of yours 
which you call conclusions; and first of all to that — than 
which, certainly, nothing can be more brief — that " every- 
thing good is praiseworthy; but everything praiseworthy is 
honourable ; therefore everything good is honourable." Oh, 
what a leaden dagger ! — for w^ho will grant you your first 
premises ? And if it should be granted to you, then you have 
no need of the second : for if everything good is praiseworthy, 
so is everything honourable ; who, then, will grant you this, 
except P^-rrho, Aristo, and men like them 1 — whom you do 
not approve of Aristotle, Xenocrates, and all that school, 
will not grant it ; inasmuch as they call health, strength, 
riches, glory, and many other things good, but not praise 
worthjj^ ; and they therefore do not think that the chief good 
is contained in virtue alone, though still they do prefer virtue 
to everything else. What do you think that those men will 
do who have utterly separated virtue from the chief good, 
Epicurus, Hieronymus, and those too, if indeed there are 
any such, who wish to defend the definition of the chief good 
given by Carneades 1 And how will Callipho and Diodoru.s 
be able to gr?"t you what you ask, men who join to honoiu-- 
ableness something else which is not of the same genus ? — 
Do you, then, think it proper, Cato, after you have assumed 
premises which no one will grant to you, to derive whatever 
conclusion you please from them 1 Take this sorites, than 
which you think nothing can be more faulty : " That which is 
good is desirable; that which is desirable ought to be sought 
for; that which ouglit to be sought for is praiseworthy," and 
so on through all the steps. But I will stop here, for in the 
same manner no one will grant to you that whatever ought 
to be sought is therefore praiseworthy ; and that other argu- 
ment of tlieirs is far from a legitimate conclusion, but a most 
stupid assertion, "that a happy life is one worthy of being 
boasted of" For it can never happen that a person may 
reasonably boast, without something honourable in the cir- 
cumstances. Polemo will grant this to Zeno ; and so will 
his master, and the whole of that school, and all the rest who, 
preferring virtue by far to everything else, still add some- 
tluLig besides to it in their definition of the chief good. For 


if virtue be a thing worthy of being boasted of, as it is, an^l 
if it is so far superior to all other things that it can scarcely 
be expressed how much l)etter it is; tlien a man may, possibly, 
be happy if endowed with virtue alone, and destitute of every- 
thing else; and yet he will never grant to you that nothing 
whatever is to be classed among goods, except virtue. 

But those men whose chief good has no A'irtue in it, will 
perhaps not grant to you that a happy life has anything in it of 
which a man can rightly boast, although they also, at times, re- 
present virtues as subjects for boasting. You see, therefore, that 
you are either assummg propositions which are not admitted, 
or else such as, even if they are granted, will do you no good. 

XIX. In truth, in all these conclusions, I should think this 
worthy both of philosophy and of ourselves, — and that, too, 
most especially so when we were inquiring into the chief 
good, — that our lives, and designs, and wishes should be cor- 
rected, and not our expressions. For who, when he has heard 
those brief and acute arguments of yours which, as you say, 
give you so much pleasure, can ever have his opinion changed 
by them ? For when men fix their attention on them, and 
wish to hear why pain is not an evil, they tell him that to be 
in i)ain is a bittei', annoying, odious, itnuatural condition, and 
one difficult to be borne ; but, because there is in pain no 
fraud, or dishonesty, or malice, or fault, or baseness, therefore 
it is not an evil. Now, the man who hears this said, even if 
he does not care to laugh, will still depai't without being a 
bit more courageous as to bearing pain than he was when he 
came. But you affirm that no one can be courageous who 
thinks pain an evil. Why should he be more courageous if 
he thinks it — what you yourself admit it to be — bitter and 
scarcely endurable 1 For timidity is generated by things, and 
not by words. And you say, that if one letter is moved, the 
whole system of the school will be undermined. Do I seem, 
then, to you to be moving a letter, or rather whole pages ? 
For although the order of things, which is what you so espe- 
cially extol, may be j^reserved among them, and although 
everything may be well joined and connected together, (for 
that is what you said.) still we ought not to follow them too 
far, if arguments, having set out from false princinles, are 
consistent with themselves, »nd do not wander from tne end 
they propose to themselves. 


Accordingly, in his first establishment of his system, your 
master, Zeno, departed from nature; and as he had placed 
the chief good on that superiority of disposition which we call 
virtue, and had affirmed that there was nothing whatever 
good whicli was not honourable, and that virtue could have 
no real existence if in other things there were things of which 
one was better or worse than another ; having laid down 
these pi'emises, he naturally maintained the conclusions. You 
say truly; for I cannot deny it. But the conclusions which 
follow from his premises are so false that the premises from 
which they are deduced cannot be true. For the dialecti- 
cians, you know, teach us that if the conclusions which follow 
from any premises are false, the premises from which they 
follow cannot be true. And so that conclusion is not only 
true, but so evident that even the dialecticians do not think 
it necessary that any reasons should be given for it — " If that 
is the case, this is ; but this is not ; therefore that is not." 
And so, by denying your consequence, your premise is con- 
tradicted. What follows, then ? — " All who are not wise are 
equally miserable ; all wise men are perfectly happy : all 
actions done rightly are equal to one another; all offences are 
equal." But, though all these propositions at first appear to 
be admirably laid down, after a little consideration they are 
not so much approved of. For every man's own senses, and 
the nature of things, and truth itself, cried out, after a fashion, 
that they could never be induced to believe that there was 
no difference between those things which Zeno asserted to be 

XX. Afterwards that little Phoenician of yours (for you 
know that the people of Citium, your clients, came from 
Phoenicia), a shrewd man, as he was not succeeding in hia 
case, since nature herself contradicted him, began to withdraw 
his words ; and first of all he granted in favour of those 
things which we consider good, that they might be considered 
fit, and useful, and adapted to nature ; and he began to con- 
fess that it was more advantageous for a wise — that is to say 
for a perfectly happy — man, to have those things which he 
does not venture indeed to call goods, but yet allows to be 
well adapted to nature. And he denies that Plaix;, if he were 
not a wise man, would be in the same circumstances as the 
tyrant Dionysius; for that to die was better for the one. 


because he clesi)aired of attaining -wisdom, but to live was 
better fui tiie otlier, Ijccause of his hope of doing so. And he 
asserts that of ofl'ences some are tolerable, and some by no 
means so, because many men passed by some oft'ences, and 
there aro others which very few people pass V)y, on account oj 
the munber of duties violated. Again, he said that some men 
are st) foolish as to be utterly unable ever to airive at wisdom ; 
but that there are others who, if they had taken pains, might 
have attained to it. Now, in this he expressed himself dilferently 
from any one else, but he thought just the same as all the 
rest. Nor did he think those things deserving of being valued 
less which he himself denied to be goods, than they did who 
considered them as goods. What, then, did he wish to effect 
by having altered these names? At least he would have 
taken something from their weight, and would have valued 
them at rather less than the Peripatetics, in order to appear 
to think in some respects differently from them, and not 
merely to speak so. 

What more need I say? What do jou say about the happy 
life to which everytliing is referred? You affirm that it is not 
that life which is filled with everj'thing which nature requires; 
and you place it entirely in virtue alone. And as every 
controversy is iisually either about a fact or a name, both 
kinds of dispute arise if either the fact is not imderstood or if 
a mistake is made as to the name; and if neither of these is 
the case, we must take care to use the most ordinary language 
possible, and words as suitable as can be, — that is, such as 
]nake the subject plain. Is it, then, doubtful that if the 
former philosophers have not erred at all as to the fact itself, 
they certainly express themselves more conveniently ? Let 
us, then, examine tiieir opinions, and then return to tfie ques- 
tion of names. 

XXI. They say that the desii'e of the mind is excited when 
anytliing appears to it to be according to nature; and that all 
things wliich are according to nature are worthy of some 
esteem; and that they deserve to be esteemed in proportion 
to the weight that there is in each of them : and that of those 
things wliicli are according to nature, some Jiave in them- 
selves nothing of that apjjetite of which we have already fre- 
quently spoken, being neither called honourable nor praise- 
worthy; and some, again, are accompanied by pleasure in tb.c 


jase of every animal, and in the case of man also with reason. 
And those of them -which are suitable are honourable, beauti- 
ful, and praiseworthy; but the others, mentioned before, are 
natural, and, when combined with those which are honourable, 
make up and complete a perfectly happy life. But they say, 
too, that of all these advantages — to which those people do not 
attribute more importance who say that they are goods, than 
Zeno does, who denies it— by far the most excellent is that 
which is honourable and praiseworthy; bxit that if two 
lionourable things are both set before one, one accompanied 
with good health and the other with sickness, it is not doubt- 
ful to which of them nature herself will conduct us : but, 
nevertheless, that the power of honoui-ableness is so great, and 
that it is so far better than, and superior to, everything else, 
that it can never be moved by any punishments or by any bribes 
from that which it has decided to be right; and that every- 
thing which appears hard, difficult, or unfortunate, can be 
dissipated by those virtues with which we have been adorned 
by nature ; not because they are trivial or contemptible — or 
else where would be the merit of the virtues 1 — but that we 
might infer from such an event, that it was not in them that 
the main question of living happily or unhappily depended. 

In short, the things which Zeno has called estimable, and 
worth choosing, and suitable to nature, they call goods ; but 
they call that a liappy life which consists of those things 
which I have mentioned, or, if not of all, at least of the 
greatest number of them, and of the most important. But 
Zeno calls that the only good which has some peculiar beauty 
of its own to make it desirable; and he calls that life alone 
happy which is passed with virtue. 

XXII. If we are to discuss the reality of the case, then 
tliere cannot possibly, Cato, be any disagreement between you 
and me : for there is nothing on which you and I have dif- 
ferent opinions ; let us only compare the real circumstances, 
after changing the names. Nor, indeed, did he fail to see 
this; but he was delighted with the magnificence and splen- 
dour of the language : and if he really felt what he said, and 
what his words intimate, then what would be the difference 
between him and T'yrrho or Aristo 1 But if he did not 
approve of them, then what was his object in differing in lan- 
guage with those men with whom he agi'eed in reality ? 


"VVliat would you do if these Platonic philosophers, and 
those, too, who were their pupils, were to come to life again, 
and address you thus :— " As, O Marcus Cato, we heard that 
you were a man exceedingly devoted to philosophy, a most 
just citizen, an excellent judge, and a most conscientious wit- 
ness, we marvelled what the reason was why you preferred 
the Stoics to us; for they, on the subject of good and evil 
things, entertain those opinions which Zeno learnt from Po- 
lemo ; and use those names which, when they are first heard, 
excite wonder, but when they are explained, move only ridicule. 
But if you approved those doctrines so much, why did you not 
maintain them in their own proper language'? If authority had 
influence with you, how was it that you prefeiTed some stranger 
to all of us and to Plato himself? especially while you were 
desirous to be a chief man in the republic, and might have 
been accomplished and equipped by us in a way to enable you 
to defend it to your own great increase of dignity. For the 
means to such an end have been investigated, described, 
marked down, and enjoined by us; and we have written 
detailed accounts of the government of all republics, and 
their descriptions, and constitutions, and changes, — and even 
of the laws, and customs, and manners of all states. More- 
over, how much eloquence, which is the greatest ornament to 
leading men, — in which, indeed, we have heard that you are 
very eminent, — might you have leai'nt, in addition to that 
which is natural to you, from our records !" Wlien they had 
said this, what answer could you have made to such men 1 I 
would have entreated j'ou, said he, who had dictated their 
speech to them, to speak likewise for me, or else rather to 
give me a little room to answer them myself, only that 
now I prefer listening to you; and yet at another time I 
should be likely to reply to them at the same time that I 
answer you. 

XXIII. But if you were to answer truly, Cato, you would 
be forced to say this — That you do not approve of those 
men, men of great genius and great authority as they are. 
But that you liave noticed that the things which, by reason 
of their antiquity they have failed to see, have been 
thoroughly comprehended by the Stoics, and that these latter 
have discussed the same matters with more acuteness, and 
have also entertained more dignified and courai^eous scnti- 


ments, iuasmuch as, in the fiist place, they den} that gcod 
health is to be desired, though they admit that it may be 
chosen; not because to be well is a good, but because it is 
not to be utterly disregarded, and yet that it does not appear 
to them of more value that it does to those who do not 
hesitate to call it a good. And that you could not endure 
that those ancients, those bearded men (as we are in the habit 
of calling our own ancestors), should believe that the life of 
that man who lived honourably, if he had also good health 
and a good reputation, and was rich, was more desirable, 
better, and more to be sought for, than that of him who was 
equally a good man in many respects, like the Alcmseon of 
Ennius — 

Surrounded by disease, and exile sad. 
And cruel want. 

Those ancients, then, must have been far from clever, to 
think that life more desirable, better, and happier. But the 
Stoics think it only to be preferred if one has a choice; not 
because this life is happier, but because it is better adapted 
to nature; and they think that all who are not wise are 
equally miserable. The Stoics, forsooth, thought this; but 
it had entirely escaped the perception of those philosophers 
who preceded them, for they thought that men stained with 
all sorts of parricide and wickedness were not at all more 
miserable than those who, though they lived pm^ely and 
uprightly, had not yet attained complete wisdom. 

And while on this tojjic, you brought forth those similes 
which they are in the habit of employing, which are, in 
truth, no similes at all. For who is ignorant that, if many 
men should choose to emerge from the deep, those would be 
nearer breathing who came close to the surface, but still would 
not be actually able to breathe any more than those who are 
at the bottom 1 Therefore, on yoiu- principles, it is of no 
avail to make progress and advancement in virtue, in order to 
be less iitterly miserable before you have actually an'ived at 
it, since it is of no use in the case of men in tlie water. And 
since puppies who are on the point of opening their eyes, are 
just as blind as those that are but this moment born; it is • 
plain also that Plato, as he had not yet seen wisdom, was as 
blind in his intellect as Phaiaris. 

XXIV. These cases are not alike, Cato. For in thcM 


jiiHtances, thougl/ you may have made a good deal of progress 
still you are iu exactly the same evil from whicli you wish to 
be free, till you have entirely escaped. For a man does not 
breathe till he has entirely emerged, and puppies ai'e just as 
blind till they liavc opened their eyes, as if they were never 
going to open them. I will give you some instances that 
rcially are like. One man's eyes are had, another is weak in 
his body ; these men are both gi-adually relieved by the daily 
application of remedies. The one gets better every day, and 
the other sees better. Now these men resemble all those who 
study virtue. They are relieved of their vices; they are 
relieved of their errors. Unless, perchance, you think that 
Tiberius Gracchus, the father, was not happier than his son, 
when the one laboui'ed to establish the republic, and the 
other to subvert it. And yet he was not a wise man. For 
who taught him wisdom 1 or when 1 or where 1 or whence did 
he learn it? Still, because he consulted his twin glory and 
dignity, he had made great progress in virtue. 

But I will compare your grandfatlier, Drusus, with Cains 
Gracchus, who was nearly his contemporary. He healed the 
wounds which the other inflicted on the republic. But there 
is nothing which makes men so miserable as impiety and 
wickedness. Grant that all those who are unwise are 
miserable, as, in fact, they are; still he is not equally mise- 
rable who consults the interest of his country with him who 
wishes for its destruction. Therefore, those men are already a 
great deal relieved from their vices who have made any con- 
siderable advance towards virtue. But the men of your 
school admit that advance towards virtue can be made, but yet 
assert that no relief from vices takes place in consequence. 

But it is worth while to consider on what arguments acute 
men rely for proving this point. Those arts, say they, of 
which the perfection can be increased, show that the com- 
pleteness of their contraries can likewise be increased. But 
no addition can be made to the perfection of virtue. There- 
fore, also, vices will not be susceptible of any increase, for 
they are the contraries of virtues. Shall we say, then, that 
things which are doubtful are made plain by things which 
are evident, or that things which are evident are obscured by 
things tliat are doubtful l But this is evident, that difterent 
vices are greater in different people. This is doubtful, whether 


any addition can he made to tljat which you tall the chief 
good. But you, while what you ought to do is to try and 
illustrate what is doubtful by what is evident, endeavour to 
get rid of what is evident by what is doubtful. And, there- 
fore, you will find yourself hampered by the same reasoning 
which I used just now. For if it follows that some vices are 
not greater than others, because no addition can be made to 
that chief good whicli you describe, since it is quite evident 
that the vices of all men are not equal, you must change your 
definition of the chief good. For we must inevitably main- 
tain this rule, that when a consequence is false, the premises 
from Avhich the consequence proceeds cannot be true. 

XXV. What, then, is the cause of these difiiculties 1 A 
vain-glorious parade in defining the chief good. For when it 
is positively asserted that what is honourable is the sole good, 
all care for one's health, all attention to one's estate, all 
regard for the government of the republic, all regularity in 
transacting business, all tlie duties of life, in short, are put 
an end to. Even that very honourableness, in which alone 
you assert that everything is comprised, must be abandoned. 
All which arguments are carefully urged against Ariston by 
Chrj'sippus. And from that embarrassment it is that all 
those fallaciously speaking wiles, as Attius calls them, have 
arisen. For because wisdom had no ground on which to rest 
her foot, when all the duties were taken away, (and duties 
were taken away when all power of selection and discrimina- 
tion was denied; for what choice, or what discrimination 
could there be when all things were so completely equal that 
there was no difference whatever between them 1) from these 
difficulties there arose worse errors than even those of Aristo. 
For his arguments were at all events simple; those of your 
school are full of craft. 

For suppose you were to ask Aristo whether these things, 
freedom from pain, riclies, and good health, appear to him to 
be goods ? He would deny it. What next? Suppose you ask 
him whether the contraries of these things are bad 1 He 
would deny that equally. Suppose you were to ask Zeno the 
same question 1 He would give you the same answei-, word 
for word. Suppose further, that we, being full of astonish- 
ment, were to ask them both how it will be possible for us 
to live, if we think that it makes not the least difference to 


US wlietlier we are well or sick; wlietlier we are free from pait 
or toriiieuted by it; whether we are able or unable to endui'a 
cold and hunger? You will live, says Aristo, magnificently 
and excellently, doing whatever seems good to you. You 
will never l)e vexed, you will never desire anything, you will 
never fear anything. What will Zeno say ] He says that all 
these ideas are monstrous, and that it is totally impossible for 
any one to live on these principles; but tliat there is some ex- 
travagant, some immense difference between what is honour- 
able and what is base; that between other things, indeed, 
there is no difference at all. He will also say — (listen to what 
follows, and do not laugli, if you can help it) — all those 
intermediate things, between which there is no difference, are 
nevertheless such that some of them are to be chosen, others 
rejected, and others utterly disi-egarded ; that is to say, that 
you may wish for some, wish to avoid others, and be totally 
indifferent about others. But you said just now, Zeno, 
that there was no difference whatever between these things. 
And now I say the same, he I'eplies ; and that there is no dif- 
ference whatever as respects virtues and vices. Well, I should 
like to know who did not know that ? 

XXVI. However, let us hear a little more. Those things, 
says he, which you have mentioned, to be well, to be rich, to 
be free from pain, I do not call goods; but I will call them 
in Greek Trporjy/xeVa (which you may translate by the Latin 
produda, tlioiigh I prefer prceposita or proecipua, for they are 
more easily comprehended and more applicable terms). And 
again, the contraries, want, sickness, and pain, I do not call 
evils, though I have no objection to styling them (if you 
wish) things to be rejected. And, therefore, I do not say 
that I seek for them first, but that I choose them ; not that I 
wish for them, but that I accept them. And so, too, I do 
not say that I flee from the contraries ; but that I, as it were, 
keep aloof from them. What says Aristotle and the rest of 
the disciples of Plato? Why, that they call everything good 
which is according to nature ; and that whatever is contrary 
to nature they call evil. 

Do you not see, then, that your master Zeno agrees with 
Aristo in words, but differs from him as to facts; but that he 
agrees with Aristotle and those other philosophers as to facts, 
but differs from them onl^^ in words i Wliy, then, when wu 


are agreed as to facts, do we not prefer speaking in the ordi- 
nary manner ? Let him teach me either that I shall be more 
pi'epared to despise money, if I reckon it only among things 
preferred, than if I count it among goods ; and that I shall 
have more fortitude to endure pain if I call it bitter, and diffi- 
cult to bear, and contrary to nature, than if I pronounce it an 
evil. Marcus Piso, my intimate, also was a very witty man, and 
used to ridicule the Stoics for their lang-uage on this topic : 
for what was he used to say 1 " You deny that riches are a 
good, but call them something to be prefeiTed. What good 
do you do by that ? do you diminish avarice ? But if we 
mind words, then, in the first place, your expression, to be pre- 
ferred, is longer than good." " That has nothing to do with 
the matter." " I dare say it has not, but still it is a more 
difficult expression. For I do not know what the word good 
is derived from j but the word preferred I suppose means that 
it is preferred to other things. That appears to me to be 
important." Therefore, he insisted upon it, that more conse- 
quence was attributed to riches by Zeno, who placed them 
among things preferred, than by Aristotle, who admitted that 
they were a good. Still he did not say that they were b 
great good, but rather such an one as was to be despised 
and scorned in comparison of what was right and honourable, 
and never one to be greatly sought after. And altogethei", he 
argued in this way, about all those expressions which had 
been altered by Zeno, both as to what he denied to be 
goods, and as to those things to which he referred the name 
of evil ; saying that the first received from him a more 
joyful title than they did from us; and the latter a more 
gloomy one. 

XXVII. Piso, then — a most excellent man, and, as you well 
know, a great friend of yours — used to argue in this manner. 
And now let us make an end of this, after we have just said 
a few additional words. For it would take a long time to 
rejAj to all your assertions. 

For from the same tricks with words, originate all those 
kingdoms, and commands, and riches, and universiU dominion 
which you say belong to the wise man. You say besides, that 
he alone is handsome, he alone is free, he alone is a citizen ; 
and that everything which is the contrary of all these things 
belongs to the foolish man, who is also insane, as you assert 


they call these assertions TrapaSofa; we may call them mar- 
vellous. And yet what marvel is there iii them when you 
come nearer to them ? I will just examine the matter with 
you. and see what meaning you affix to each word; there shall 
be no dispute between us. You say that all ofl'encesare e^ual. 
I will not speak to you now, as I spoke on the same subject 
when I was defending Lucius Murena, whom you prosecuted; 
then I was addressing an unphilosopjliical audience; some- 
thing too was to be directed to the bystanders in court ; at 
present, we must proceed more precisely. In what way can all 
offences be called equal? Because nothing is more honoiir- 
able than what is honoiirable; nothing more base than what 
is base. Go on a little further, for there is a great dispute as 
to this point; let us examine those arguments, which are 
especially your own, why all offences are eqnal. A.s, says he, 
in many lyres, if not one of them is so well in tune as to be 
able to preserve the harmony, all are equally out of tune ; so 
because oifences differ from what is right, they will differ 
equally ; therefore they are equal : now here we are being 
mocked with an ambiguous expression. For it equally 
happens to all the lyres to be out of tune, but not to them 
all to be equally out of tune. Therefore, that comparison does 
not help you at all. For it would not follow if we were to say 
that every avarice is equally avarice, that therefore every case 
of avarice was equal. Here is another simile which is no 
simile; for as, says he, a pilot blunders equally if he wrecks 
a ship loaded with straw, as if he wrecks one loaded with 
gold; so, too, he sins equally who beats his parent, with him 
who beats a slave unjustly. This is not seeing that it has no 
connexion with the art of the pilot what cargo the ship 
carries : and therefore that it makes no difference with respect 
to his steering well or ill, whether his freight is straw or gold. 
But it can and ought to be understood what the difference ii 
between a parent and a slave ; therefore it makes no difference 
with respect to navigation, but a great deal with respect to 
duty, what the description of thing may be which is affected 
by the blunder. And if, in navigation, a ship has been 
wi-ecked through carelessness, the offence then becomes more 
(wrious if gold is lost, than if it is only straw. For in all arts 
we insi-st upon the exercise of what is called common pra- 
ience; wliich all men who Lave the management of a::)' 


business entrusted to ihem are bound to possess. And so 
even in this instance ofisnces are not equal. 

XXVIII. However, they press on, and relax nothing. Since, 
say they, every offence is one of imbecility and inconsistency, 
and since these vices are equally great in all fools, it follows 
necessarily that offences are equal : as if it were admitted that 
vices are equally great in all fools, and that Lucius Tubulus 
was a man of the same imbecility and inconsistency as 
Publius Sceevola, on whose motion he was condemned; and 
as if there were no difference at all between the things them- 
selves which are the subject of the offences ; so that, in pro- 
portion as they are more or less important, the oflfences 
committed in respect of them are so too. 

Tlierefore, for I may now bring this discourse to an end, 
your Stoics seem to me to be most especially open to this 
charge, that they fancy they can support two opposite pro- 
positions. For what is so inconsistent as for the same person 
to say that what is honourable is the only good, and also that 
the desire of things adapted for human life proceeds fi-oni 
nature 1 But when they wish to maintain the arguments 
which are suitable for the former propositions, they agree 
with Aristo; when they avoid that, they in reality are 
upholding the same doctrines as the Peripatetics ; they cling 
to words with great tenacity; and as they cannot bear to 
liave them taken from them one after anothei', they become 
more fierce, and rougli, and harsher both in their language 
and manners. But Panajtius, wishing to avoid their morose- 
ness and asperity, woidd not approve of either the bitterness 
of tlieir sentiments, or their captious way of arguing : and so 
in one respect he was more gentle, and in the other more 
intelligil)le. And he was always quoting Plato, and Aristotle, 
and Xenocrates, and Theophrastus, and Dica^archus, as hia 
own writings show. And indeed, I feel very sure that it 
would do you a great deal of good if you too were to study 
those authors with care and diligence. 

But since it is getting towards evening, and I must return 
to my villa, we will stop this discussion at this point, but wo 
will often return to it on other occasions. Indeed we will, 
said he, for what can we do better? And indeed I shall re- 
qnire of you to give me a hearing while I refute what you 
liave said ; but recollect that you approve of all our opinion^., 


242 DE nsiBus, a treatise on 

charging us only with using words incorrectly ; but that we 
do not approve of one single one of your ideas. You are 
throwing a stone at me as I depart, said I ; however, we shall 
see. And when we had thus spoken we separated. 


I. One day when I had been hearing Antiochus lecture, aa 
I was in the habit of doing, Brutus, in company with 
Marcus Piso, in that gj'-mnasium which is called Ptolemy's, 
my brother Quintus being with me, and Titus Pomponius, 
and Lucius Cicero, our cousin on the father's side as to re- 
lationship, but our own brotlier as to affection, we determined 
to take our afternoon's walk in the Academy, principally be- 
cause at that time of day that place was free from any crowd. 
Accordingly, at the appointed time we all met at Piso's house, 
and from thence we walked half-a-dozen furlongs from the 
I ipylus to the Academy, beguiling the road with discourse on 
various subjects ; and when we had arrived at the deservedly 
celebrated space of the Academy, we there found the solitude 
which we desired. Then said Piso— Shall I say that this is 
implanted in us by nature, or by some mistake, tliat when 
we see those places which we have heard that men who de- 
sei've to be had in recollection have much frequented, we are 
more moved than when we hear even of their actual deeds, or 
than when we read some one of their writings 1 — just as I am 
affected now. For the remembrance of Plato comes into my 
mind, whom we understand to have been the first person who 
was accustomed to dispute in this place ; and whose neighbour* 
ing gardens not only recal him vividly to my recollection, 
but seem even to place the man himself before my eyes. 
Here Speusi|)pus, here Xenocrates, here his pupil Polemo used 
to walk; and the latter used to sit in the very spot which is 
UO-.V before us. There is our senate-house (I mean the Cm-is 


Hostilia,' not this new one, which always seems to me smaller, 
though in fact it is larger) : whenever I have looked upon that 
I have always thought of Scipio, and Cato, and Ltelius, and 
more especially of my own grandfather. So great a power of 
reminding one of circumstances exists in tlie places them- 
selves, that it is not without reason that some people have 
built up a system of memory in them. Then Quintus said — 
It is just as you say, Piso : for as I was coming here just 
now, that district of Colonos drew my attention to itself, 
whose inhabitant, Sophocles, was brought at once before my 
eyes : for you know how I admire, and how I delight in him : 
and accordingly a sort of appearance moved me, an unsub- 
stantial one indeed, but still it did move me to a more vivid 
recollection of Qlldipus coming hither, and asking in most 
melodious verse what all these places were. Then Pomponius 
said — I whom you all are always attacking as devoted to 
Epicurus, am often with Phsedrus, who is a particulai* friend 
of mine, as you know, in the gardens of Epicm-us, which we 
passed by just this moment ; but, according to the warning 
of the old proverb, I remember the living; still I may not 
forget Epicurus, even if were to wish to do so, whose likeness 
oin- friends have not only in pictures, but even on then* 
goblets and rings. 

II. On this I chimed in: — Our friend Pomponius, said I, 
appears to be joking, and perhaps he has a right to do so; 
for he has established himself at Athens in such a way that he 
has almost become an Athenian, and indeed so as to seem 
likely to earn such a surname. But T, Piso, agree with you that 
we do get into a habit of thinking a good deal more earnestly 
and deeply on illustrious men in consequence of the warnings 
of place. For you know that once I went with you to Meta- 
pontum, and did not turn into the house of my entertainer 
until I had seen the very place where Pythagoras passed hia 
life, and his house ; and at this present time, although all 
over Athens there are many traces of eminent men in the 
places themselves, still I am greatly affected by this seat 
which is before me. For here Charmadas lately sat,— a man 

' The Curia Hostilia ^yaa built by Tullus Hostilius, and was origi- 
nally the only place where a Senatus Consultum could be passed, though 
the senate met at limes in other places. But, under Caesar, the Curia. 
Julia, an immense edifice, liad been built as the senate-houfie. 



s.'liom T seem to see, for his likeness is well known to me* 
and I can fancy that his voice is regretted by tlie very seat 
itself, deprived as it is now of such a brilliant genius. Then 
Piso said — Since, now, we have all said something, what does 
our friend Lucius think ? is he glad to visit that spot where 
Demosthenes and ^schines used to contend together ? for 
every one is chiefly attracted by his own pai-ticular study. 
And he blushed, and answered — Do not ask me, who went 
down even to the harbour of Phalerum, where tliey say that 
Demosthenes used to declaim to the waves, in order to accus- 
tom himself to outvoice the roaring of the sea. I turned 
aside also out of the road, a little to the right, to approach 
the tomb of Pericles ; a-lthough, indeed, such records are 
countless in this city, for wherever we step we place our foot 
on some history. 

Then Piso continued : — But, Cicero, said he, those inclina- 
tions are the inclinations of clever men, if they lead to the 
imitation of great men ; but if they only tend to bringing up 
again the traces of ancient recollections, that is mere curiosity. 
But we all exhort you, — though you of your own accord, as I 
hope, are running that way, — to imitate those men whom 
you wish that you had known. Although, I replied, oiu- 
friend Piso here does, as you see, what you recommended, 
still your exhortation is pleasing to me. Then said he, in a 
most friendly manner, as was his wont, — Let all of us, then, 
contribute every assistance to his youth, especially urging him 
to devote some of his studies to philosophy, either for the 
sake of imitating you whom he loves, or else of being able to 
do what he is desirous to do with more elegance. But do 
you, O Lucius, said he, require to be exhorted by us, or are 
you inclined that way of your own accord ] You appear, 
indeed, to me to be very assiduous in your attendance on 
Antiochus, whose pupil you are. Then replied he, timidly, — 
or, I ought rather to say, modestly, — T am indeed : but did 
you not just now hear Charmadas's name mentioned 1 I am 
attracted in that direction, but Antiochus drags me back 
again ; nor is there any one else whose lectures it would be 
pf)ssible to attend. 

in. Piso replied — Although, while our friend here (mean- 
ing me) is present, this matter will perhaps not be quite so 
easy; yet I will endeavour to call you back from this Ne?/ 


Academy to that ancient one, in which (as you used to hear An- 
tiochus say) those men are not aloue reckoned who are called 
Academies, — Speusippus, Xenocrates, Polemo, Grantor, and 
tlie rest; but the old Peripatetics also, the chief of whom was 
Aristotle, whom, next to Plato, I think I may fairly call the 
prince of philosophers. Turn yourself, therefore, I entreat 

?^ou, to those men; for from their writings and systems all 
iberal learning, all history, all elegance of language, may be 
derived; and also, so great is the variety of arts of which 
they were masters, that no one can come properly armed for 
any business of importance and credit without being tolerably 
versed in their writings. It is owing to them that men have 
turned out orators, generals, and statesmen; and, to descend 
to less important matters, it is from this Academy, as from a 
regular magazine of all the aits, that mathematicians, poets, 
musicians, aye, and physicians too, have proceeded. 

I replied — You know well, Piso, that my opinion is the 
same : but still the mention of it by you was very seasonable ; 
for my relation Cicero is anxious to hear what was the doc 
trine of that Old Academy which you have been speaking of, 
and of the Peripatetics, about the chief good; and we think 
that you can very easily explain it to us, because you enter- 
tained Staseas the Neapolitan in your house for many years, 
and because, too, we are aware that you have been many 
months at Athens, investigating these very things, as a pupil 
of Antiochus. And he said, with a laugh, Come, come,— for 
you have very cleverly drawn me in to begin the discussion, — 
let us explain it to the young man if we can ; for this solitude 
gives us the opportunity : but, even if a god had told me so, 
I would never have believed that I should be disputing in the 
Academy, like a philosopher. However, I hope I shall not 
annoy the rest of you while complying with his request. 
Annoy me, said I, who asked you 1 Quintus and Pomponius 
also said that they entertained the same wish ; so he began. 
And I beg of you, Brutus, to consider whether what he said 
appears to you to sufficiently embrace the doctrines of Antio- 
chus, which I know you, who were a constant attendant on 
the lectures of his brother Aristus, approve of highly. Thuti 
he spoke : — 

TV. What great elegance there is in the Peripatetic STKtein 
I have explained a little time ago, as briefly as I could. But 


the form of the system, as is the case with most of the otliet 
schools, is threefold : one division being that of natm-e ; the 
second, that of arguing; the third, that of living. Nature 
has been investigated by them so thoroughly that there is no 
part of heaven, or earth, or sea (to speak like a poet), which 
they have passed over. Moreover, after having treated of the 
origin of things, and of the universal world, so as to prove 
many points not only by probable arguments, but eveu by the 
inscrutable demonstrations of mathematicians, they brcnight 
from the subjects which they had investigated abundant 
materials to assist in attaining to the knowledge of secret 
things. Aristotle investigated the birth, and way of living, 
and figure of every animal ; Theophrastus examined the 
causes, and principles, and natm-es of plants, and of almost 
everything which is produced out of the earth; by which 
knowledge the investigation of the most secret things is ren- 
dered easier. Also, they have given rules for arguing, not 
only logically, but oratorically ; and a system of speaking in 
both these manners, on every subject, has been laid down by 
Aristotle, their chief; so that he did not alwaj's ai'gue against 
everything, as Arcesilas did; and yet he furnished one on 
every subject with arguments to be used on both sides of it. 

But, as the third division was occupied about the rules of 
living well, it was also brought back by those same people, 
not only to the system of private life, but also to the direction 
of affairs of state. For from Aristotle we have acquired a 
knowledge of the manners, and customs, and institutions of 
almost every state, not of Greece only, but also of the Barba- 
rians ; and from Theophrastus we have learnt eveu their laws : 
and each of them taught what sort of man a leader in a state 
ought to be, and also wrote at great length to exjDlain what 
was the best constitution for a state. But Theophrastus also 
detailed very copiously what were the natur^d inclinations of 
aflliirs, and what the influences of opportunities which re- 
quired regulating as occasion might demand. And as for 
living, a quiet method of life appeared to them to be the best, 
passed in the contemplation and knowledge of things ; which, 
inasmuch as it had the greatest resemblance to the life of the 
gods, appeared to them to be most worthy of a wise man ; 
and on these subjects they held very lofty and dignified 


V. But respecting the chief good, because there are tT^j 
kinds of books, — one addressed to the people, -which they used 
to call f^iorepLKov, the other va-itten in a more polished style, 
which they left behind in commentaries, — they appear not 
always to say the same thing ; and yet in their ultimate con- 
clusion there is no variety in the language of the men -whom 
I have named, nor is there any disagreement between them. 
Rut, as a h?ppy life is the object of search, and as that is the 
only thing which philosophy ought to pursue and regard, 
there never appears to be the least difference or doubt in 
their writings, as to whether happiness is wholly in the power 
of the wise man, or whether it can be undermined or taken 
from him by adversity. And this point is the especial subject 
of the book of Theophrastus, on a Happy Life; in which a 
great deal is attributed to fortune : and if that theory is cox'- 
rect, then wisdom cannot make life happy. Now, this seems 
to me rather too tender (if I may say so) and delicate a doc- 
trine, more so than the power and importance of virtue can 
sanction. Wherefore let us rather hold with Aristotle, and 
his son Nicomachus, — whose admirably written books on 
Morals are said, indeed, to be Aristotle's; but I do not see 
why the son may not have been like his father : but, in most 
cases, let us apply to Theophrastus, as long as we attribute a 
little more firmness and strength to virtue than he did. 

Let us, then, be content with these guides; for their suc- 
cessors are wiser men, indeed, in my opinion, than the philo- 
sophers of other schools : but still they degenerate so from 
these great men, that they seem to me rather to have arisen 
from themselves than from them. In the first place, Strato, 
the pupil of Theoplu'astus, called himself a natural pliiloso- 
pher: and though, in truth, he is an eminent man in that 
line, still most of what he said was novel ; and he said very 
little about morals. His pupil Lyco was rich in eloquence, 
but very meagre in matter. Then his pupil Aristo was a neat 
and elegant writer, but still he had not that dignity which we 
look for in a great philosopher : he wrote a great deal, cer- 
tainly, and in a polished style; but, somehow or other, hiii 
writings do not carry any weight. I pass over several, an^l 
among them that learned man and pleasant writer, Hierony- 
mus ; and I do not know why I should call him a Peripatetic, 
for he defined the chief good to be freedom from pain : and 


he who (lisiigrees with me about the chief good, disagrees with 
me aljout the whole principle of philosophy. Critolaus wished 
to copy the ancients ; and, indeed, he comes nearest to thern 
in dignity, and his eloquence is preeminent : still he adheres 
to tlie ancient doctrine. Diodorus, his pupil, adds to honour- 
ableness freedom from pain : he, too, clings to a theory of hia 
own ; and, as he disagrees from them about the chief good, he 
is hardly entitled to be called a Peripatetic. But my friend 
Antiochus seems to me to pursue the opinions of the ancients 
with the greatest care ; and he shows that they coincided 
witli the doctrines of Aristotle and Polemo. 

VI. My young fi-ieud Lucius, therefore, acts prudently 
when he wishes chiefly to be instructed about the chief good; 
for when this point is once settled in philosophy, everything 
is settled. For in other matters, if anything is passed over, 
or if we are ignorant of anything, the inconvenience thus 
produced is no greater than the importance the matter is of 
in which the omission has taken place; but if one is ignorant 
of what is the chief good, one must necessarily be ignorant of 
tlie true principles of life; and from this ignorance such great 
errors ensue that they cannot tell to what port to betake 
themselves. But when one has acquired a knowledge of the 
chief ends, — when one knows what is the chief good and the 
chief evil, — then a proper path of life, and a proper regulation 
of all the duties of life, is found out. 

There is, therefore, an object to which everything may be 
referred; from which a system of living happily, which is 
what every one desires, may be discovered and adopted. But 
since there is a great division of opinion as to what that con- 
sists in, we had better employ the division of Carneades, which 
our fi-iend Antiochus prefers, and usually adopts. He there- 
fore saw not only how many different opinions of philosophers 
on the subject of the chief good there were, but how many 
there could be. Accordingly, he asserted that there was no 
art which proceeded from itself; for, in truth, that which is 
comprehended by an art is always exterior to the art. There 
is no need of prolonging this argument by adducing instances; 
for it is evident that no art is conversant about itself, but 
that the art itself is one thing, and the object which is pro- 
posed to be attained by the art another. Since, therefore, 
prudence is the art of living, just as medicine is of health, or 


Steering of navigation, it follows unavoidably that that also 
must have been established by, and must proceed from, some- 
thing else. But it is agreed among almost all people, that 
tliat object with which prudence is conversant, and which it 
wishes to arrive at, ought to be fitted and suited to nature, 
and to be of such a character as by itself to invite and attract 
that desire of the mind which the Greeks call opfx-rj. But as 
to what it is which causes this excitement, and which is so 
greatly desired by nature from its first existence, it is not 
agreed; and, indeed, there is a great dissension on the subject 
among jihilosophers whenever the chief good is the subject of 
investigation : for the source of this whole question which is 
igitated as to the chief good and evil, when men inquire what 
is the extreme and highest point of either, must be traced 
back, and in that will be found the primitive inducements of 
nature ; and when it is found, then the whole discussion 
about the chief good and evil proceeds from it as fi-om a 

VII. Some people consider the first desire to be a desire of 
pleasure, and the first thing which men seek to ward off to be 
pain : others think that the first thing wished for is freedom 
from pain, and the first thing shunned, pain ; and from these 
men others proceed, who call the firet goods natural ones; 
among which they reckon the safety and integrity of all one's 
parts, good health, the senses unimpaired, freedom from pain, 
strength, beauty, and other things of the same sort, the 
images of which are the first things in the mind, like the 
sparks and seeds of tlie virtues. And of these three, as there 
is some one thing by which nature is originally moved to feel 
desire, or to repel something, and as it is impossible that 
there should be anything except these three things, it follows 
unavoidably that every duty, whether of avoiding or of pursu- 
ing anything, is referred to some one of these things; so that 
tiiat prudence, which we have called the art of life, is always 
conversant about some one of these three things from which 
it derives the beginning of the whole life : and from that 
which it has pronounced to be the original cause by which 
uatui-e is excited, the principle of what is right and honour- 
able arises ; which can agree with some one of these three 
divisions ; so tliat it is honourable to do everything for tlin 
sake of pleasure, even if you do not obtain it ; or else for tho 


sake of avoiding pain, though you may not be able to com- 
pass that ; 01- else of getting some one of those things which 
are according to nature. And tlius it comes about that there 
Is as much difference between the chief good and the chief 
evil as there is in their natm-al principles. Others again, 
starting from the same beginning, refer everything either to 
pleasure or to freedom from pain, or else to the attainment of 
those primary goods which arc according to nature. 

Now then that we have detailed six opinions about the 
chief good, these are the cliief advocates of the three last- 
mentioned opinions, — Aristippus, the advocate of pleasure; 
Hieronymus, of freedom from pain ; and Carneades, of the 
enjoyment of those things wliich we have called the principal 
things in accordance with nature (though he, indeed, was not 
the author of this theory, but only its advocate, for the sake 
of maintaining a debate). Now, the three former were such 
as might possibly be true, though only one of them was 
defended, and that was vehemently maintained. For no one 
says, that to do everything for the sake of pleasure, or that, 
even though we obtain nothing, still the very design of 
acting so is of itself desirable, and honourable, and the only 
good ; no one ever even placed the avoidance of pain (not 
even if it could be avoided) among things intrinsically de- 
sirable ; but to do ever3-thing with a view to obtain the 
things which are according to nature, even though we do not 
succeed in obtaining them, the Stoics do affirm to be honour- 
al)le, and the only thing to be desired for its own sake, and 
the only good. 

VIII. These, then, are six plain opinions about the chief 
good and tlie chief evil, — two having no advocate, but four 
being defended. But of united and twofold explanations of 
the chief good there were in all three; nor could there be 
more if you examine the nature of things thoroughly. For 
either pleasure can be added to honourableness, as Callipho 
and Diuomachus thought ; or freedom from pain, as Diodorus 
asserted; or tlie first gifts of nature, as tlie ancients said, 
whom we call at the same time Academics and Peripatetics. 
But, since everything cannot be said at once, at present these 
things ought to 1)0 known, that pleasure ought to be excluded; 
since, as it will presently appear, we have been born for higher 
purposes ; and nearly the st^me may be said of freedom from 


pain as of pleasure. Since then we have discussed pleasure 
with Torquatus, and honourableness (in which alone every 
good was to consist) with Cato ; in the first place, the argu- 
ments which were urged against pleasure are neai'ly equally 
applicable to freedom from pain). Nor, indeed, need we 
seek for any others to reply to that opinion of Carneades ; for 
in whatever manner the chief good is explained, so as to be 
unconnected with honourableness, in that sj-stem duty, and 
virtue, and friendship, can have no place. But the union of 
either pleasure or freedom from pain with honom-ableness, 
makas that very honourableness which it wishes to embrace 
dishonourable ; for to refer what you do to those things, 
one of which asserts the man who is free from evil to be in 
the enjoyment of the chief good, while the other is conversant 
with the most tiifling part of our nature, is rather the con- 
duct of a man who would obscure the whole brilliancy of 
honourableness — I might almost say, who would pollute it. 

The Stoics remain, who after they had borrowed everything 
from the Peripatetics and Academics, pursued the same objects 
under different names. It is better to reply to them all sepa- 
rately. But let us stick to our present subject; we can deal 
witii those men at a more convenient season. But the 
" security " of Democritus. vvliich is as it were a sort of tran- 
quillity of the mind which they all tvOvfxIa, deserved to be 
separated from this discussion, because that tranquillity of the 
mind is of itself a happy life. What we are inquiring, how- 
ever, is not what it is, but whence it is derived. The opinions 
of Pyrrho, Aristo, and Herillus, liave long ago been exploded 
and discarded, as what can never be applicable to this circle 
of discussion to which we limit ourselves, and which had no 
need to have been ever mentioned ; for as the whole of this 
inquiry is about the chief, and what I may call the highest 
good and evil, it ought to start from that point which we call 
suitable and adapted to nature, and which is sought of itself 
for itself Now this is wholly put out of the question by 
those who deny that in those things in which there is nothing 
either honourable or dishonourable, there is any reason why 
one thing should be preferred to another, and who think that 
there is actually no diflPerence whatever between those things. 
And Herillus, if he thought that nothing was good except 
knowledge, put an end to all reason for taking counsel, and to 


all inqaiiy nhoiit duty. Thus, after we have got rid of the 
opiuioiis of tlio rest, as there can be no other, this doctrine of 
the ancients must inevitably })revail. 

IX. Tlierefore, after the fashion of the ancients, which the 
Stoics also adopt, let us make this beginning : — Every animal 
loves itself, and as soon as it is born labours to preserve itself, 
because tiiis is the hrst desii'e given to it by nature, to regu- 
late its whole life, to preserve itself, and to be so disposed a* 
it best may in accordance with nature. At the beginning it 
has such a confused and uncertain kind of organization that 
it can only just take care of itself, whatever it is; but it doe8 
not understand either what it is, or what its powers are, or 
what its nature is. But when it has advanced a little, and 
begins to perceive how far anything touches it, or has reference 
to it, then it begins gradually to improve, and to comprehend 
itself, and to understand for what cause it has that appetite of 
the mind which I have spoken of; and begins also to desire 
those things which it feels to be suited to its nature, and to 
keep off the contraiy. Therefore, in the case of every animal, 
what it wishes is placed in that thing which is adapted to its 
nature. And so tlie chief good is to live according to nature, 
witli the best disposition and the most suitable to nature that 
can be engendei'ed. 

But since every animal has his own peculiar nature, it is 
plain that the object of each must be to have his nature satis- 
fied. For there is no hindrance to there being some things in 
common to all other animals, and some common both to 
men and beasts, since the nature of all is common. But that 
highest and chief good and evil which we are in search of, ia 
distributed and divided among the different kinds of ariimals, 
each having its own peculiar good and evil, adapted to that 
end which the nature of each class of animal requires. Where- 
fore, when we say that the chief good to all animals is to live 
according to nature, this must be understood as if we said 
that they had all the same chief good. But as it may truly 
be said to be common to all arts to be conversant about some 
science, and that there is a separate science belonging to each 
art, so we may say that it is common to all annuals to livo 
according to nature, but that there are ditferent natures ; sj 
tliat the horso has by nature one chief good, the ox another, 
man another; and yet in all there is one common eudr iiiid 


that is the case too, not only in animals, out also in all those 
things which nature nourishes, causes to grow, and protects 3 
in which we see that those things which are produced out of 
the earth, somehow or other by their own energy create many 
things for themselves which have influence on their life and 
gi'owth, and so each in their own kind they arrive at the 
chief good. So that we may now embrace all such in one 
comprehensive statement ; and I need not hesitate to say, that 
every nature is its own preserver; and has for its object, as 
its end and chief good, to protect itself in the best possible 
condition that its kind admits of; so tliat it follows inevitably 
that all things which flourish by nature have a similar but 
still not the same end. And from this it should be under- 
stood, that the chief and highest good to man is to live 
according to nature which we may interjsret thus,— to live 
according to that nature of a man wliicli is made perfect on 
all sides, and is in need of nothing. These things tlien we 
must explain; and if our explanation is I'ather minute, you 
will excuse it ; for we are bound to consider the youth of our 
hearei*, and the fact that he is now perhaps listening to such 
a discourse for tlie first time. Certainly, said I ; altliough 
what you have said hitherto might be very properly addressed 
to hearers of any age. 

X. Since then, said he, we have explained the limit of those 
things which are to be desired, we must next show wdiy the 
facts are as I have stated them. Wherefore, let us set out 
from the position which I first laid down, which is also in 
reality the first, so tliat we may understand that every animal 
loves itself. And though there is no doubt of this, (for it is 
a principle fixed deep in nature itself, and is comjirehended 
by the sense of every one, in such a degree that if any one 
wished to argue against it, he would not be listened to.) yet, 
tiiat I may not pass over anything, I think it as well to 
ad uce sonie reasons why this is the case. Although, how can 
any one either understand or fancy that there is any animal 
which hates itself? It would be a contradiction of facts ; 
for when that appetite of the mind has begun designedly to 
attract anything to itself which is an hindrance tc it, because 
it is an enemy to itself, — when it does that for its own sake, it 
will both hate itself and love itself, which is impossible. It 
IS unavoidable that, if any one is an enemy to L'.mself, he must 


think those tilings bad which arc good, and, on the otlier hand. 
those tilings good which are bad; that he must avoid those 
tilings which he ought to seek, and seek what he ought to 
avoid; all which habits are indubitably the overturning of 
life. For even if some people are found who seek for lialters 
or other modes of destruction, or, like the man in Terence, 
who determined " for such a length of time to do less injuiy to 
his son," (as he says himself.) "until he becomes miserable," it 
does not follow that they are to be thought enemies to them- 
selves. But some are influenced by pain, others by desire; 
many again are carried away by passion, and while they know- 
ingly run into evils, still fancy that they are consulting their 
own intei-ests most excellently; and, therefore, they unhesita- 
tingly say — 

That i.-? my way; do you vhate'er you — 

like men who have declared war against themselves, who like 
to be tortured all day and tormented all night, and who yet 
do not accuse themselves of having omitted to consult their 
own interests ; for this is a complaint made by those men 
who are dear to and who love themselves. 

Wherefore, whenever a man is said to be Vjut little obliged 
to himself, to be a foe and enemy to himself, and in short to 
flee from life, it should be understood that there is some cause 
of that kind lying beneath the surface; so that it may be 
understood from that very instance that every one is dear to 
himself. Nor is it sufficient that thei'e has never been any one 
who hated himself; but we must understand also that there is 
no one who thinks that it is a matter of indiflfereuce to him in 
what condition he is ; for all desire of the mind will be put 
an end to if, as in those things between which there is no 
difference we are not more inclined to either side, so also, in 
the case of our own selves, we think it makes no difference to 
us in what way we are affected. 

XI. And this also would be a veiy absurd thing if any 
one were to say it, namely, that a man is loved by himself in 
such a manner that that vehement love is referred to some 
other thing, and not to that very man who loves himself. 
Now when this is said in the case of friendship, of duty, or of 
virtue, however it is said, it is still intelligiljle what is mean" 
by it; but in regard to our own selves, it cannot even be 
understood that we should love om-selves for the sake ol 


Bomething else, or in a word, for the sake of pleasiire. For it 
is for our sakes that we love pleasure, and not for the sake of 
pleasiu'c that we love ourselves; although what can be more 
evident than that every one is not only dear, but excessively 
dear to himself 1 For who is there, or at all events how few 
are there, who when death approaches, does not find 

His heart's blood chill'd with suddeu fear, 
His cheek grow pale ] 

and if it is a vice to dread the dissolution of nature so exces- 
sively, (and the same thing on the same principle may be 
asserted of our aversion to pain,) still the fact that nearly 
every one is affected in this manner, is a sufficient proof that 
nature abhors destruction. And though some men show this 
dread or aversion to such a degree that they are deservedly 
blamed for it, still this may show us that such feelings would 
not be so excessive in some people, if a moderate degree of 
them were not imjilanted in mankind by nature. 

Nor, indeed, do I mean that fear of death which is shown 
by those men who, because they think that they are being 
deprived of the goods of life, or because they fear some terrible 
events after death, or who, because they are afraid of dying in 
pain, therefore shun death; for in the case of children, who 
can have no such ideas or apprehensions, they often show 
fear if, when playing with them, we threaten to throw them 
down from any place; and even beasts, as Pacuvius says, 

Who have no cunning, or prophetic craft 
To ward off danger ere it come, 

shudder when the fear of death comes before them. And, 
indeed, who entertains a different opinion of the wise man 
himself? who, even when he has decided that he must die, 
still is affected by the departure from his famil}', and by the 
fjact that he must leave the light of day. And above all is 
tlie power of nature visible in the human race, since many 
endure beggary to preserve life, and men worn out with old 
age are tortured with the idea of the approach of death, and 
endure such things as we see Philoctetes in the play suffer, 
who, while he was kept in torture by intolerable pains, never- 
theless preserved his life by the game which he could kilJ 
with his arrows. 

He, though slow, o'ertook the swift, 

He stood and slew the flying — 


as Attius says, and made himself coverings for his body by 
plaiting tlic feathers together. I am speaking of mankind, 
and, indeed, generally of all animals, though i)lant& and trees 
have nearl}^ the same nature, whether, as is the opinion of 
some most learned men, because some predominant and 
divine cause has implanted this power in them, or whether it 
is accidental. We see those things which tlie earth produces 
preserved in vigour by their bark and roots, which happens 
to animals by tlie arrangement of their senses, and a certain 
compact conformation of limb. And with reference to this 
subject, although I agree with those men who think that all 
these things are regulated by nature, and that if nature neg- 
lected to regulate them, the animals themselves could not 
exist, still I grant that those who differ on this subject may 
think what they please, and may either understand that when 
I say the nature of man I mean man (for it makes no differ- 
ence) ; for a man will be able to depart from himself sooner 
than he can lose the desire of those things which are advan- 
tageous to him. Rightly, therefore, have the most learned 
philosophei'S sought the principle of the chief good in nature, 
and thought that that appetite for things adapted to nature 
is implanted in all men, for they ai'e kept together by that 
recommendation of nature in obedience to which they love 

XII. The next thing which we must examine is, what is the 
nature of man, since it is sufficiently evident that every one 
is dear to himself by natm'e; for that is the thing which we 
are really inquiring about. But it is evident that man con- 
sists of mind and body, and that the first rank belongs to the 
mind, and the second to the body. In the next place we see, 
also, that his body is so formed as to excel that of other 
animals, and that his mind is so constituted as to be furnished 
with senses, and to liave excellence of intellect which the 
whole nature of man obeys, in which there is a certain admi- 
rable force of reason, and knowledge, and science, and all kinds 
of virtues; for the things which are parts of the body have 
no authority to be compared with tliat possessed by the parts 
of the mind ; and they are more easily known. Therefore, let 
as begin with them. 

It is evident, now, how siutable to natm-e are the parts of 
our body, and the whole general figure, form, and stature of 


it ; nor is there any doubt what kind of face, eyes, ears and 
otlier foatm-es ai'e peculiar to man. But certainly it is neces- 
sary for them to be in good health and vigorous, and to have 
all their natural movements and uses ; so that no part of them 
bhall be absent, or disordered, or enfeebled; for nature requires 
soundness. For there is a certain action of the body which 
has all its motions and its general condition in a state of 
harmony with nature, in which if anything goes wrong 
thi'ough any distortion or depravity, either by any irregular 
motion or disordered condition, — as if, for instance, a person 
were to walk on his hands, or to walk not forwards but back- 
wards, — then he would evidently appear to be flying fmm 
himself, and to be putting off his manhood, and to hate his 
own nature. On which account, also, some ways of sitting 
down, and some contorted and abrupt movements, such as 
wanton or effeminate men at times indulge in, are contrary to 
nature. So that even if that should happen through any 
fault of the mind, still the nature of the man would seem to 
be changed in his body. Therefore, on the contrary, moderate 
and equal conditions, and affections, and habits of the body, 
seem to be suitable to nature. But now the mind must not 
only exist, but must exist in a peculiar manner, so as to have 
all its parts sound, and to have no virtue wanting : but each 
sense has its own peculiar virtue, so that nothing may hinder 
each sense from performing its office in the quick and ready 
perception of those things which come under the senses. 

XIII. But there are many virtues of the mind, and of that 
part of the mind which is the chief, and which is called the 
intellect; but these virtues are divided into two principal 
classes : one, consisting of those which are implanted by 
nature, and are called involuntary; the other, of those which 
depend on the will, and are more often spoken of by their 
proper name of virtues; whose great excellence is attributed 
to the mind as a subject of praise. Now in the former class 
are docility, memory, and others, nearly all of which are called 
by the one name of ingenium, and those who possess them are 
caWedingeniosi The other class consists of those which are great 
and real virtues ; which we call voluntary, such as prudence, 
temperance, fortitude, justice, and others of the same kind. 
And this was what might be said briefly of both mind and 
body ; and this statement supplies a sort of sketch of what tJie 



nature of man requires: — and from this it is evident, since we 
are beloved by ourselves, and since we wish everything both 
in our minds and bodies to be perfect, that those qualities are 
dear to us for their own sakes, and that they are of the 
greatest influence towards our living well. For he to whom 
self-preservation is proposed as an object, must necessarily 
feel an affection for all the separate parts of himself; and a 
greater affection in proportion as tliey are more perfect and 
more praiseworthy in their separate kinds. For that kind of 
life is desired which is full of the virtues of the mind and 
body; and in that the chief good must unavoidably be placed, 
since it .ought to be of such a character as to be the highest of 
all desirable things. And when we have ascertained that, 
there ought to be no doubt entertained, that as men are 
dear to themselves for their own sake, and of their own accord, 
so, also, the parts of the body and mind, and of those things 
which are in the motion and condition of each, are cultivated 
with a deserved regard, and are sought for their own sakes. 
And when this principle has been laid down, it is easy to con- 
jecture that those parts of us are most desirable which have 
the most dignity ; so that the virtue of each most excellent 
part which is sought for its own sake, is also deserving of being 
principally sought after. And the consequence will be, that 
the virtue of the mind is preferred to the virtue of the body, 
and that the voluntary virtues of the mind are superior to 
the involuntary ; for it is the voluntary ones which are pro- 
perly called virtues, and which are much superior to the 
others, as being the offspring of reason ; than which there is 
nothing more divine in man. In truth, the chief good of all 
those qualities which nature creates and maintains, and whicli 
are either vmcounected or nearly so with the body, is placed 
in the mind ; so that it appears to have been a tolerably acute 
observation which was made respecting the sow, that that 
animal had a soul given it instead of salt to keep it from 
getting rotten. 

XIV. But there are some beasts in which there is some- 
thing resembling virtue, such as lions, dogs, and horses ; in 
which we see movements not of the body only, as we do in 
pigs, but to a certain extent we may discern some move- 
ments of mind. But in man the whole dominant power lies 
in the mind; and the dominant jwwer of the mind is reason: 


and from this proceeds virtue, which is defined as the perfec- 
tion of reason : which they think is to be gradually developed 
day by day. Those things, too, which the earth produces have 
a sort of gradual growth towards perfection, not very unlike 
what we see in animals. Therefore we say that a vine lives, 
and dies; we speak of a tree as young, or old; being in its 
prime, or growing old. And it is therefore not inconsistent 
to speak, as in the case of animals, of some things in plants, 
too, being conformable to nature, and some not : and to say 
that there is a certain cultivation of them, nourishing, and 
causing them to grow, which is the science and art of the 
farmer, which prunes them, cuts them in, raises them, trains 
them, props them, so tliat they may be able to extend them- 
selves in the direction which nature points out ; in such a 
manner that the vines themselves, if they covdd speak, woidd 
confess that they ought to be managed and protected in the 
way they are. And now indeed tliat which protects it (that 
I may continue to speak chiefly of the vine) is external to the 
vine : for it has but very little power in itself to keep itself 
in the best possible condition, unless cultivation is applied 
to it. But if sense were added to the vine, so that it could 
feel desire and be moved by itself, what do you think it would 
do 1 Would it do those things which were formerly done to 
it by the vine-dresser, and of itself attend to itself 1 Do you 
not see that it would also have the additional care of preserv- 
ing its senses, and its desire for all those things, and its 
limbs, if any were added to if? And so too, to all that it had 
before, it will unite those things which have been added to it 
since : nor will it have the same object that its dresser had, 
but it will desire to live according to that nature which has 
been subsequently added to it : and so its chief good will 
resemble that which it had before, but will not be identical 
with it ; for it will be no longer seeking the good of a plant, 
but that of an animal. And suppose that not only the senses 
are given it, but also the mind of a man, does it not follow 
inevitably that those former things will remain and require to 
be protected, and that among them these additions will be far 
more dear to it than its original qualities 1 and that each 
portion of the mind which is best is also the dearest 1 and 
that its chief good must now consist in satisfying its nature, 
since intellect and reason are by far the most excellent paita 



of it? And so the chief of all the things which it has to 
desire, and that which is derived from the original recom- 
mendation of nature, ascends by several stops, so as at last to 
reach the summit ; because it is made up of the integrity of 
the body, and the perfect reason of tlie intellect. 

XV. As, therefore, the form of nature is such as I have de- 
scribed it, if, as I said at the beginning, each individual as 
i^oon as he is born could know himself, and form a correct 
estimate of what is the power both of his entire nature and 
of its separate parts, he would see immediately what this was 
which we are in search of, namely, the highest and best of all 
the things which we desire : nor would it be possible for him 
to make a mistake in anything. But now nature is from the 
very beginning concealed in a wonderful manner, nor can it 
be perceived nor comprehended. But as our age advances, 
we gradually, or I should rather say slowly, come to a kind 
of knowledge of ourselves. Therefore, that original recom- 
mendation which is given to us by our nature, is obscure and 
uncertain ; and that first appetite of the mind only goes the 
length of wishing to secure our own safety and soundness. 
But when we begin to look around us, and to feel what we 
are, and in what we differ from all the other animals, then we 
begin to pursue the objects for wliich we were born. And Ave 
see a similar thing take place in beasts, who at first do not 
move from the place in which they were born ; but after- 
wards all move, influenced by some desire of their own. And 
so we see snakes crawl, ducks swim, blackbirds fly, oxen use 
their horns, scorpions their stings ; and we see nature a guide 
to each animal in its path of life. 

And the case is simiiai' v\ith the human race. For infants 
at their first birth lie as if they were utterly devoid of mind ; 
but when a little strength has been added to them, they use 
both their mind and their senses, and endeavour to raise 
themselves up and to Vise their hands ; and they recognise 
those by whom they are being brought up; and afterwards 
they are amused with those of their own age, and gladly 
associate with them, and give themselves up to play, and are 
attracted by hearing stories, and are fond of pleasing othera 
with their own supei-fluities ; and take curious notice of what 
is dune at home, and begin to make remarks, and to learn ; 
and do not like to be ignorant of the names of those whom 

THE finiEF GOOD AND EVIt. 201 

they see ; and in their sports and contests with their fellows, 
they are delighted if they win, and if they are beaten they 
are dejected and lose their spirits. And we must not think 
that any of these things happen without reason ; for the 
power of man is produced in such a way by nature, that it 
seems made for a perception of all excellence : and on that 
account children, even without being taught, are influenced 
b}' likeness of those virtues of which they have the seeds in 
themselves ; for they are the original elements of nature : 
and when they have acquired growth, then the whole work of 
nature is accomplished. For as we have been born and created 
so as to contain in ourselves the principles of doing something, 
and of loving somebody, and of liberality, and of gratitude; 
and so as to have minds adapted for knowledge, prudence, 
and fortitude, and averse to their opposites; it is not without 
cause that we see in children those sparks, as it were, of virtue 
which I have mentioned, by which the I'eason of a philosopher 
ought to be kindled to follow that guide as if it were a god, 
and so to arrive at the knowledge of the object of nature. 

For, as I have often said already, the power of nature is 
discerned through a cloud while we are of a weak age and 
feeble intellect; but when our mind has made progress and 
acquired strength, then it recognises the power of nature, but 
still in such a way that it can make more progress still, and 
that it must derive the beginning of that progress from itself. 

XVI. We must therefore enter into the nature of things, 
and see thoroughly what it demands ; for otherwise we can- 
not arrive at the knowledge of ourselves. And because this 
precept was too important an one to be discerned by a man, it 
has on that account been attributed to God. The Pythian 
Apollo, then, enjoins us to know ourselves : but this know- 
ledge is to know the power of our mind and body, and to 
follow that course of life which enjoys the circumstances 
in which it is placed. And since that desire of the mind to 
have all the things which I have mentioned in the most per- 
fect manner in which nature could provide them, existed from 
the beginning, we must admit, when we have obtained what 
we desired, that nature consists in that as its extreme point, 
and that that is the chief good : which certainly must in 
every case be sought for spontaneously for its own sake, since 
it has already been proved, that even all its sepai'ate parta 


are to bo desired for their own sake. But if, in enumerating 
the advantages of the body, any one should thinlv tiiat we 
have passed over pleasure, that question may be postponed till 
another o[>portunity ; for it makes no difterence with regard 
to live present suliject of our discussion, whether pleasure 
• consists in those things which we have called the chief things 
iu accordance with nature, or whether it does not. For if, as 
I indeed think, pleasure is not the crowning good of nature, it 
has been properly passed over : but if that crowning good 
does exist in pleasure, as some assert, then the fact does not 
at all hinder this idea of ours of the chief good from being 
the right one. Foi', if to those things which are the prin- 
cipal goods of nature, pleasure is added, then there will have 
been added just one advantage of the body; but no change 
will have been made in the original definition of the chief 
good which was laid down at first. 

XVII. And hitherto, indeed, reason has advanced with us 
in such a way as to be wholly derived from the original re- 
commendation of nature. But now we must pursue another 
kind of argument, namely, that we are moved in these matters 
of our own exceeding goodwill, not only because we love our- 
selves, but because there is both in the body and in the mind 
a peculiar power belonging to each part of nature. And, (to 
begin with the body,) do you not see that if there is anything 
in their limbs deformed, or weak, or deficient, men conceal 
it 1 and take pains, and labour earnestly, if they can pos- 
sibly contrive it, to prevent that defect of the body ft-om being 
visible, or else to render it as little visible as possible 1 and 
that they submit to great pain for the sake of curing any 
such defect 1 in order that, even though the actual use of the 
limb, after the application of the remedy, be likely to be not 
greater, but even less, still the appearance of the limb may 
be restored to the ordinary course of nature. In truth, as 
all men fancy that they are altogether desirable by nature, 
and that too, not on any other account, but for their own 
sakes, it follows inevitably that each part of them should be 
desired for its own sake, because the whole body is sought 
for its own sake. What more need I say 1 Is there rt>thiug 
iu the motion and condition of the body which nature herself 
decides ought to be noticed 1 for instance, how a pereon 
walks Dr sits, what the expression of his countenance is, what 


Lis features are ; is tliere nothing in all these things which we 
think worthy or unworthy of a free man, as the case may be? 
Do we not think many men deserving of hatred, who appear 
by some motion or condition to have despised the laws and 
moderation of nature ? And since these thing-s are derived 
from tlie body, what is the reason why beauty also may not 
fairly be said to be a thing to be desired for its own sake 1 

For if we consider distortion or disfigurement of the body 
a thing to be avoided for its own sake, why should we not 
also, and perhaps still more, cultivate dignity of form for its 
own sake 1 And if we avoid what is unseemly, both in the 
condition and motion of the body, why may we not on the 
other hand pursue beauty? And we also desire health, 
strength, and freedom from pain, not merely because of their 
utility, biit also for their own sakes. For since nature 
wishes to be made complete in all her parts, she desires this 
condition of tlie body, which is most according to nature, for 
its own sake : but nature is put into complete confusion if 
the body is either sick, or in pain, or destitute of strength. 

XVIII. Let us consider the parts of the mind, the appear- 
ance of which is more noble ; for in proporti^-n as they are 
more sublime, they give a more clear indication of their 
nature. So vehement a love, then, of knowledge and science 
is innate in us, that no one can doubt that the nature of man 
is drawn to them without being attracted by any external gain. 
Do we not see how boys cannot be deterred even by stripes 
from the consideration and investigation of such and such 
things? how, though they maybe beaten, they still pursue 
their inquiries, and rejoice in having acquired some know- 
ledge ? how they delight in telling others what they have 
learnt ? how they are attracted by processions, and games, 
i^nd spectacles of that kind, and will endure even hunger and 
thirst for such an object ? Can I say no more ? Do we not 
see those who are fond of liberal studies and arts regard 
neither their health nor their estate ? and endure everything 
because they are charmed with the intrinsic beauty of know- 
ledge and science? and that tliey put the pleasures which 
they derive from learning in the scale against the gi-eatest care 
and labour ? And Homer himself appears to me to have 
had some such feeling as this, which he has developed in 
what he has said about the songs of the Sirens : for they do 


nut seen", to have been accustomed to attract those who wore 
sailing by with the sweetness of their voices, or with any 
novelty or variety in their song, but tlie profession which 
they made of possessing great knowledge ; so that men clung 
to their rocks from a desire of learning. For thus they invite 
Ulysses, (for I have translated several passages of Homer, and 
this among them) — 

Ufci stay, pride of Greece ! Ul^'ssea, stay ! 

Oh, cease iLy course, and listen to our lay ! 

Blest is the man ordaiu'd our voice to hear: 

Our sons'; instructs the soul and charms the ear. 

Approach, thy soul shall into raptures rise; 

Approach, and learn new wisdom from the wise. 

We know whate'er the kings of mighty name 

Achieved at Ilium in the field of fame ; 

Whate'er beneath the sun's bright journey lies — 

Oh stay, and learn new wisdom from the wise.' 
Homer saw that the story would not be probable if he 
represented so great a man as caught by mere songs ; so they 
promise him knowledge, which it was not strange that a man 
desirous of wisdom should consider dearer than bis counti-y. 
And, indeed, to wish to know everything of every kind, is 
natural to the cin-ious ; but, to be attracted by the contem- 
plation of greater objects, to entertain a general desire for 
knowledge, ought to be considered a proof of a gi'eat man. 

XIX. What ardour for study do you not suppose there 
must have been in Archimedes, who was so occupied in 
drawing some mathematical figures in the sand, that he was 
not aware that his city was taken ? And what a mighty 
genius was that of Aristoxenus which, we see, was devoted to 
music ? What fondness, too, for study, must have inspired 
Aristophanes, to dedicate his whole life to literature ! What 
shall we say of Pythagoras 1 Why should 1 speak of Plato 
and of Democritus, by whom, we see, that the most distant 
countries were travelled over, on account of their desire for 
learning ? And those who are blind to this have never loved 
anything very worthy of being known. And here I may say, 
that those who say that those studies which 1 have mentioned 
are cultivated for the sake of the pleasures of the mind, do 
nut understand that they are desirable for their own sakes, 
because the mind is delighted by them, without the interrup- 
tion of any ideas of utility, and rejoices in the mere fact ol 
' Pope's Homer, Odys. xiu 231. 


knowledge, even though it may possibly produce inconvenience. 
But why need we seek for more instances to prove what is so 
evident 1 For let us examine our own selves, and inquire 
how the motions of the stars, and the contemplation of the 
heavenly bodies, and the knowledge of all those things which 
are hidden from us by the obscurity of nature, affect us ; and 
why history, which we are accustomed to trace back as far as 
possible, delights us; in the investigation of which we go 
over again all that has been omitted, and follow up all that 
we have begun. Nor, indeed, am I ignorant that there is a 
use, and not merely pleasure, in history. What, however, 
will be said, with reference to our reading with pleasure 
imaginary fables, from which no utility can possibly be 
derived 1 Or to our wishing that the names of those who have 
performed any great exploits, and their family, and their 
country, and many circumstances besides, which are not at 
all necessary, should be known to us 1 How shall we explain 
the fiict, that men of the lowest rank, who have no hope of 
ever performing great deeds themselves, artisans in short, are 
fond of history ; and that we may see that those persons also 
are especially fond of hearing and reading of great achieve- 
ments, who are removed fi'om all hope of ever performing 
any, being worn out witli old age 1 

It must, therefore, be understood, that the allurements are 
in the things themselves wliich are learnt and known, and 
that it is they themselves which excite us to leai'ning and to 
the acquisition of information. And, indeed, the old philo- 
sophers, in their fictitious descriptions of the islands of the 
blessed, intimate the kind of life which the wise pass, whom 
they imagine to be free from all care, requiring no cultivation 
or appointments of life as necessary, and doing, and about to 
do nothing else but devote their whole time to inquiring and 
learning and ai'riving at a knowledge of nature. But we see 
that that is not only the delight of a happy life, but also a 
relief from misery. Therefore, many men while in the power 
of enemies or tyrants, many while in prison or in exile, have 
relieved their sorrow by the study of literature. A great man 
of this city, Demetrius Phalereus, when he had been unjustly 
banished from his country, fled to Alexandria, to king 
Ptolemy ; and, as he was very eminent for his knowledge of 
this philosophy to which we are exhorting you, and had been 


a pupil of Theophrastus, he wrote many admirable treatisiis 
during the time of that unfortunate leisure of his. not, indeed 
for any utility to himself, for that was out of his reach, but 
the cultivation of his mind was to him a sort of sustenance 
for his human nature. 

I, indeed, have often heard Cnajus Aufidius, a man of prse- 
torian rank, of great learning, but blind, say that he was 
affected more by a regret for the loss of light, than of any 
actual benefit which he derived fi'om his eyes. Lastly, if 
sleep did not bring us rest to our bodies, and a sort of 
medicine after labour, we should think it contrary to nature, 
for it deprives us of our senses, and takes away our power of 
action. Therefore, if either nature were in no need of rest, or 
if it could obtain it by any other means, we should be glad, 
since even now we are in the habit of doing without sleep, in 
a manner almost contrary to nature, when we want to do or 
to learn something. 

XX. But tliere are tokens supplied by nature, still clearer, 
or, I may say, entirely evident and indubitable, — more espe- 
cially, indeed, in man, but also in every animal. — that the mind 
is always desirous to be doing something, and can in no 
condition endure perpetual rest. It is easy to see this in the 
earliest age of children ; for although I fear that I may 
appear prolix on this subject, still all the ancient philosophers, 
and especially those of our own country, have recourse to 
the cradle for illustrations, because they tliink that in child- 
hood they can most easily detect the will of nature. We 
see, then, that even infants cannot rest ; but, wdien they have 
advanced a little, then they are delighted with even laborious 
sports, so that tliey cannot be deterred from them even by 
beating : and that desire for action grows with their growth. 
Therefore, we should not like to have the slumber of Endy- 
mion given to us, not even if we expected to enjoy the most 
delicious dreams ; and if it were, we should think it like 
death. ]\loreover, we see that even the most indolent men, 
men of a singular woiihlessness, are still always in motion 
both in mind and body ; and when they are not hindered by 
some unavoidable circumstance, that they demand a dice-box 
or some game of some kind, or conversation ; and, as they 
have none of the liberal delights of learning, seek circles and 
assemblies. Even beasts, which we shut up for oiu- owu 


amusement, though they are better fed than if they were free, 
still do not ■willingly endure being imprisoned, but pine for 
the free and unrestrained movements given to them by 
natui'e. Therefore, in proportion as every one is born and 
preijared for the best objects, he would be unwilling to live at 
all if, being excluded from action, he were able only to enjoy 
the most abundant pleasures. 

Foi men wish either to do something as individuals, or 
those who have loftier souls undertake the affairs of the state, 
and devote themselves to the attainment of honours and 
commands, or else wholly addict themselves to the study of 
learning ; in which path of life they are so far from getting 
pleasures, that they even endure care, anxiety and sleei)less- 
ness, enjoying only that most excellent poilion of man which 
may be accounted divine in us, 1 mean the acuteness of the 
genius and intellect, and they neither seek for pleasure nor 
shun labour. Nor do they intermit either their admiration 
of the discoveries of the ancients, or tneir search after new 
ones ; and, as they are insatiable in their pursuit of such, 
they forget everything else, and admit no low or grovelling 
thoughts ; and such great power is there in those studies, 
that we see even those who have proposed to themselves other 
chief goods, which they measure by advantage or pleasure, 
still devote their lives to the investigation of things, and to 
the explanation of the mysteries of nature. 

XXI. This, then, is evident, that we were born for action. 
But there are several kinds of action, so that the lesser are 
thrown into the shade by those more important. But those 
of most consequence are, first of all, as it appears to me, and 
to those philosophers whose system we are at present discus- 
sing, the consideration and knowledge of the heavens, and of 
those things which are hidden and concealed by nature, but 
into which reason can still penetrate. And, next to them, 
the management of state affairs, or a prudent, tcmpei-ate, 
coui-ageous principle of government and knowledge, and the 
other virtues, and such actions as are in harmony with those 
virtues, which we, embracing them all in one word, call 
honourable ; to the knowledge and practice of which we are 
led by nature herself, who g(;es before us as our guide, we 
having been already encouraged to pursue it. For the 
^lOginnings of all things are small, but, as they proceed, they 


increase in magnitude, and that naturally : for, at their first 
birth, there is in them a certain tenderness and softness, so that 
they cannot see or do what is best. For the light of virtue and 
of a happy life, which are the two princij)al things to be desired, 
appears rather later ; and much later still in such a way that 
it can be plainly perceived of what character they are. 

For, admirably does Plato say, " That man is happy to 
whom, even in his old age, it is allowed to arrive at wisdom 
and correctness of judgment." Wherefore, since we have 
said enough of the first advantages of nature, we will now 
examine those which are more important, and which are later 
in point of time. 

Nature, then, has made and fashioned the body of man in 
such a manner, that it makes some parts of him perfect at 
his first birth, and forms others as he advances in age ; and, 
at the same time, does not employ many external or adven- 
titious aids But she has filled up the perfection of the mind 
in the same way as that of the body ; for she has adoi-ned it 
with senses suitable for the effecting of its purposes, so that 
it is not in the least, or not much, in want of any assistance 
for strengthening itself But that which is most excellent 
and important in man it has abandoned : although it has 
given him an intellect able to receive every kind of virtue, 
and has implanted in him, even without instruction, a slight 
knowledge of the most important things, and has begun, as it 
were, to teach him, and has led him on to those elements as 
I may call them, of virtue which existed in him. But it has 
only begun virtue itself, nothing more. Therefore it belongs 
to us, — when I say to us, I mean to our art, — to trace back 
the consequences to those principles which we have received, 
until we have accomplished our object, which is indeed of a 
good deal more consequence, and a good deal more to be 
desired for its own sake, than either the senses, or those parts 
of the body which we have mentioned ; which the excellent 
perfection of the mind is so far superior to, that it can 
Bcarcely be imagined how great the difi'erence is. Therefore, 
all honour, all admiration, all study is referred to virtue, and 
to those actions which are consistent with virtue ; and all 
those things which are either in our minds in that state, or 
are done in that manner, are called by one common name — 
honourable. And we shall presently tee what knowledge W6 


Dave of all these things, and wnat is meant by the diSerent 
names, and what the power and nature of each is. 

XXII. But at present we need only explain that these 
things which I call honourable, (besides the fact of our living 
ourselves on their account,) are also by their own nature 
desei-ving of being sought for their own sake. Children show 
this, in whom nature is perceived as in a mirror. What 
eagerness is there in them when contending together ! how 
vigorous are their contests ! how elated are those who win ! 
how ashamed those who are beaten ! how unwilling are they 
to be blamed! how eager to be praised! what labours will they 
not endure to surpass their fellows ! what a recollection have 
they of those who are kind to them ! how anxious are they 
to prove their gratitude ! and these qualities are most visible 
in the best dispositions ; in which all these honourable quali- 
ties which we appreciate are filled up as it were by nature. 
But in children they are only sketched. 

Again, in more mature age, who is so unlike a man as not 
to be moved to a dislike of baseness and approval of what is 
honourable 1 Who is there who does not loathe a libidinous 
and licentious youth? who, on the contrary, does not love 
modesty and constancy in that age, even though his own 
interest is not at all concerned 1 Who does not detest PuUus 
Numitorius, of Fregellae, the traitor, although he was of use 
to our own republici who does not praise Codrus, the 
saviour of his city, and the daughters of Erectheus? Who 
does not detest the name of Tubulusi and love the dead 
Aristides? Do we forget how much we are affected at hear- 
ing or I'eading when we are brought to the knowledge of 
anything which has been done in a pious, or friendly, or 
magnanimous spirit 1 Why should I speak of men like our- 
selves, who have been born and brought up and ti'ained to 
praise and glory 1 What shouts of the common people and of 
the unlettered crowd are excited iu the theatres when this 
Bentence is uttered — 

I am Orestes : 
and when, on the other hand, the other actor says — 

No ; it is I, 'tis I who am Orestes. 
But when one of them is allowed to depart by the perplexed 
and bewildered king, and they demand to die together, is this 


Bcene ever acted without being accompanied by the noosl 
violent expressions of admiration 1 There is no one, then, who 
does not approve of and praise this disposition of mind; by 
which not only no advantage is sought, but good faith is pre- 
served even at the expense of one's advantage. And not only 
are imaginary fables, but true histories also, and especially 
those of our country, full of such instances : for we selected 
our most virtuous citizen to receive the Idagan sacred vessels ; 
we have sent guardians to kings; our geuerals have devoted 
their lives for the safety of the republic; our consuls have 
warned a king who was our greatest enemy, when he was 
actually approaching our walls, to beware of poison. In our 
republic, a woman has been found to expiate, by a voluntaiy 
death, a violation which was inflicted on her by force; and a 
man to kill his daughter to save her from being ravished. 
All which instances, and a countless host of others, prove to 
the comprehension of every one that those who performed 
those deeds were induced to do so by the brilliancy of virtue, 
forgetful of their own advantage, and that we, when we praise 
those actions, are influenced by nothing but their honourable 

XXIII. And having briefly explained these matters, (for 
I have not sought to adduce the number of examples which I 
might have done, because there was no doubt on the subject,) 
it is shown sufficiently by these facts that all the virtues, and 
tliat honourableness which arises from these virtues, and 
clings to them, are worthy to be sought for their own sake. 
But in the whole of this honoui-ableness of which we are 
speaking, there is nothing so eminent, nor so extensive in its 
operation, as the union of man with man, and a certain part- 
nership in and communication of advantages, and the affec- 
tion itself of the human race; which originating in that lirst 
feeling according to which the offspring is loved by the parent, 
and the whole house united by the bonds of wedlock and 
descent, creeps gradually out of doors, first of all to one's 
relations, then to one's connexions, then to one's friends and 
neighbours, then to one's fellow-countrymen, and to the 
public friends and allies of one's country; then it embraces 
the whole human race : and this disposition of nund, giving 
every one his due, and protecting with liberality and equity 
this union of human society which I have spoken of, is called 


j^'-stice, akm to which are piety, kindness, liberality, benovo- 
.ence, courtesy, and all other qualities of the same kind. But 
these, though peculiarly belonging to justice, ai'e also commou 
to the other virtues. 

For as the nature of man has been created such that it 
has a sort of innate principle of society and citizenship, which 
the Greeks call ttoXltlkov, whatever each virtue does will not 
be inconsistent with that principle of common union, and tliat 
human aftection and society which I have spoken of; and 
justice, as she founds herself in practice on the other virtues, 
will also require them, for justice cannot be maintained 
except by a courageous and wise man. Honourableness itself, 
then, is a thing of the same character as all this conspiracy 
and agreement of the virtues which I have been speaking of ; 
since it is either virtue itself, or an action virtuously per- 
formed. And a life acting in harmony and consistency with 
this system, and with virtue, may ftdrly be thought upright 
and honourable, and consistent, and natural. And this union 
and combination of virtues is nevertheless divided by philo- 
sophers on some principle of their own. For though they 
are so joined and connected as to be all partners with one 
another, and to be unable to be separated from one another, 
yet each has its peculiar sphere of duty; as, for instance, 
fortitude is discerned in labour and danger ; temperance, 
in the disregai'd of pleasures; prudence, in the choice of 
good and evil; justice, in giving every one his due. Since, 
then, there is in every virtue a certain care which turns 
its eyes abroad, as it were, and which is anxious about and 
embraces others, the conclusion is, that friends, and brothers, 
and relations, and connexions, and fellow-countrymen, and in 
short everybody, since we wish the society of all mankind to 
be one, are to be sought after for their own sakes. But still, 
of all these things and j^eople there is nothing of such a kind 
that it can be accounted the chief good. And from this it 
follows, that there are found to be two kinds of goods which 
are to Ijc sought for their own sake. One kind which exists 
ua those things in which that chief good is brought to perfec- 
tion : and they are qualities of either the mind or body. But 
these things which are external, that is to say, which are in 
neither mind nor body, such as friends, parents, children, 
relations, or one's country, are indeed dear to me for their 


own sake, but still are not of the same class as the ciher 
kind. Nor, indeed, could any one ever arrive at the chief 
good, if all those things which are external, although desir- 
able, were contained in the chief good, 

XXIV. How then, you will say, can it be true that every- 
thing is referred to the chief good, if friendship, and relation- 
ship, and all other external things are not contained in the 
chief good? Why, on this principle, — because we protect 
those things which are external with those duties which arise 
from their respective kinds of virtue. For the cultivation of 
the regard of a friend or a parent, which is the discharge of a 
duty, is advantageous in the actual fact of its being such, 
inasmuch as to discharge a duty is a good action ; and good 
actions spring from virtues; and wise men attend to them, 
using nature as a kind of guide. 

But men who are not perfect, though endued with admi- 
rable talents and dispositions, are often excited by glory, 
which has the form and likeness of honourableness. But if 
they were to be thoroughly acquainted with the nature of that 
honourableness which is wholly complete and perfect, that 
one thing which is the most admirable of all things, and the 
most praisewoi'thy, with what joy would they be filled, when 
they are so greatly delighted at its outline and bare idea! 
For who that is given up to pleasure, and inflamed with the 
conflagration of desire in the enjoyment of those things which 
he has most eagerly wished for, can we imagine to be full of 
such joy as the elder Africanus after he had conquered Han- 
nibal, or the younger one after he had destroyed Carthage? 
What man was there who was so much elated with the way 
in which all the people flocked to the Tiber on that day of 
festivity as Lucius Paullus, when he was leading in triumph 
king Perses as his prisoner, who was conveyed down on the 
same river 1 

Come now, my friend Lucius, build up in your mind the 
lofty excellence of virtue, and you will not doubt that the 
men who are possessed of it, and who live with a magna- 
nimous and upright spirit, are always happy: men who are 
aware that all the movements of fortune, all the changes of 
affliirs and circumstances, must be insignificant and powerless 
if ever they come to a contest with virtue. For those thmgs 
which are considered by us as goods of the body, do indeed 


make up a happy life, but still not without leaving it possible 
for a life to be happy without them. For so sliglit and in- 
considerable are those additions of goods, that as stars in the 
orbit of the sun ai'e not seen, so neither are those qualities, 
but they are lost in the brilliancy of virtue. And as it is 
said with truth that the influence of the advantages of the 
body have but little weight in making life happy, so on the 
otlier hand it is too strong an assertion to say that they have 
no weight at all : for those who argue thus appear to me to 
forget the principles of nature which they themselves have 
contended for. 

We must, therefore, allow these things some influence : 
provided only that we understand how much we ought to 
allow them. It is, however, the part of a philosopher, who 
seeks not so much for what is specious as for what is true, 
neither utterly to disregard those things which those very 
boastful men used to admit to be in accordance with nature ; 
and at the same time to see that the power of virtue, and the 
authority, if I may say so, of honourableness, is so great that 
all those other things appear to be, I will not say nothing, 
but so trivial as to be little better than nothing. This is the 
language natural to a man who, on the one hand, does not 
despise everything except virtue, and who, at the same time, 
honom-s virtue with the praises which it deserves. Tliis, in 
short, is a full and perfect exijlanation of the chief good ; and 
as the others have attempted to detach diftereut portions 
from the main body of it, each individual among them has 
wished to appear to have established his own theory as the 
victorious one. 

XXV. Tlie knowledge of things has been often extolled in 
a wonderful manner by Aristotle and Theophrastus for its 
own sake. And Herillus, being allm-ed by this single fact, 
maintained that knowledge was the chief good, and that 
tliere was no other thing whatever that desei-ved to be sought 
for its own sake. Many things have been said by the ancients 
on the subject of despising and contemning all human affairs. 
This was the one principle of Aristo ; he declared that there 
was nothing which ought to be avoided or desired except vice 
and virtue. And our school has placed freedom from pain 
among those things which are in accordance with nature. 
Hieronymus has said that this is the chief good : but Callipha, 



and Diodorus after him, one of whom was devoted to plea- 
sui-e, and the other to freedom from pain, could neitiier of 
them allow honourableness to be left out, which has been 
es])ecially praised by our countiymen. Moreover, even the 
advocates of pleasure seek for subterfuges, and are talking 
of virtue whole days together; and say that pleasure is at 
first only wished for; that afterwards it, tlarough custom, 
becomes a second nature, by which men are excited to do 
many things without at all .seeking pleasure. 

The Stoics remain to be mentioned. They, indeed, have 
borrowed not one idea or anoth'' ^rom us, but have appro- 
priated our whole system of philosijphy. And ;\s other thieves 
alter the mai'ks on the things which they have stolen, so 
they, in oi'der to be able to use our opinions as their own, 
have changed the names which are like the private marks on 
things. And so this school alone remains worthy of those 
men who study the liberal arts, worthy of the learned, worthy 
of eminent men, worthy of i)rinces, worthy of kings. 

And when he had said this, and then stopped to take 
breath for a while; What is the matter? said he; do I not 
seem to have said enough in your preseuce for my own de- 
fence? I replied, — Indeed, Piso, as has often been the case 
before, you have seemed to-day to have so thorough an 
acquaintance with all these things, that if we could always 
have the advantage of your company, I should not think 
that we had much reason to have recourse to the Greeks. 
Which, indeed, I have been the more pleased with, because 
I recollect that Staseas, the Neapolitan, your preceptor, a 
very illustrious Peripatetic, was at times accustomed to 
discuss these points differently, agreeing with those men who 
attributed a great deal of weight to prosperity and adversity, 
and to the good or evil qualities of the body. It is as you 
say, he replied : but these points are argued with much more 
accuracy and impressiveness by my friend Antiochus thau 
they used to be by Staseas. Althougli I do not ask what 1 
have proved to your satisfaction, but what I have proved to 
the satisfaction of this friend of mine, the young Cicero, a 
pupil w^hom I wish to seduce from you. 

XXVI Then Lucius said, — Indeed, I quite agree with what 
you have said, and I think my brother does too. Then said 
Piso to me: Is it sol Do you pardon the youth? or would 



you rathsr that he should learn these things which, when 
he has learnt thoroughly, he will know nothing at all? I 
give him leave, said I. But do not you recollect that I am 
allowed to express my appi'oval or disapproval of what has 
been said by you? For who can avoid approving of what 
appears to him to be probable? Can any, we said, approve 
of anythiijg of which he has not a thorough percepticm, com- 
pi'ehension, and knowledge? There is, said I, no great dis- 
pute between us, Piso; for thero is no other reason why it 
ajDpears to me that nothing can bo perceived except that the 
faculty of perceiving is defined in such a manner by the Stoics 
that they affirm that nothing can be perceived except what is 
so true that it cannot possibly be false. Therefore there is 
a di.spute between us and the Stoics, but none between us 
and the Peripatetics. However, we may pass over this, for 
it would open the door to a long and sufficiently bitter 

It seemed to me that it was too hasty an assertion of yours 
that all wise men were always happy. I know not how 
such a sentence escaped you ; but unless it is proved, I fear 
that the assertion which Theophrastus made wnth respect to 
fortune, and pain, and bodily torture be true, with which he 
did not consider that a happy life could possibly be joined, 
must be true. For it is exceedingly inconsistent that the 
same person should be happy, and afflicted with many mis- 
fortunes ; and how these things can be reconciled, I do not 
at all understand. Which assertion then, said he, is it that 
you object to ? Do you deny that the power of virtue is so 
great that she can by herself be sufficient for happiness ? or, 
if you admit that, do yoa think it impossible that those per- 
sons who are possessed of virtue may be happy, even if they 
are afflicted with some evils? I, indeed, I replied, wish to 
attribute as much power as possible to virtue; however, we 
may discuss at another time how great her power is ; at pre- 
.sent the only question is, whether she has so much power as 
this, if anything external to virtue is reckoned among tlie 
goods. But, said he, if you gi-ant to the Stoics that virtue 
alone, if it be present, makes life happy, you grant it also 
to the Peripatetics ; for those things which they do not 
venture to call evils, but which they admit to be unj^leasant 
and inconvenient, and to be rcjetjted, and odious to nature, 


we call evils, but slight, and, indeed, exceedingly trifling ones. 
Wherefore, if that man can be happy who is among disagree- 
able things which ought to be rejected, he also may be so 
wlio is among slight evils. And I say, Piso, if there is 
any one who in causes is used to have a clear insight into 
wiiat the real question is, you are the man : wherefore I beg 
of you to take notice ; for, hitherto, owing pei'haps to my 
fault, you do not perceive what it is that I am seeking. I 
am attending, said he ; and I am waiting to see what answer 
you will make to the questions that I ask. 

XXVII. I will answei", said I, that I am not inquiring at 
present what virtue can effect, but what is said consistently 
on the subject, and why the assertions are at variance wnth 
one another. How so 1 said he. Because, said I, when this 
pompous assertion is uttered by Zeno, as if he were an oracle, — 
" Virtue requires nothing beyond herself to enable a man to live 
happily" — why] said he — "Because there is no other good 
except what is honourable." I do not ask now whether that 
is true; I only say that what he says is admirably consistent. 
Epicurus will say the same thing — " that the wise man is 
always happy;" whick, indeed, he is in the habit of spout- 
ing out sometimes. And he says that this wise man, 
when he is being torn to pieces with the most exquisite 
pains, will say, "How pleasant it is! how I disregard it !" 
I will not argue with the man as to why there is so much 
power in nature ; I will only urge that he does not under- 
stand what he ought to say, after he has said that pain is the 
greatest evil. 

Now I will address the same language to you. You say 
that all the goods and evils are the same that those men pro- 
nounce them to be who have never even seen a philosopher 
in a picture, as the saying is — namely, health, strength, 
stature, beauty, the soundness of all a man's nails, you call 
good — deformity, disease, weakness you call evils. These are 
all externals ; do not go on any more : but at all events you 
will reckon these things among the goods, as the goods of the 
body which help to compose them, namely, friends, children, 
relations, riches, honour, power. Take notice that I say 
nothing against this. If those are evils into which a wise 
man can fall, then it follows that to be a wise man is not 
jiulfioieut to secui'e a happy life. Indeed, said he, it is very 


little towards securing a perfectly happy one, but enough for 
securing a tolerably happy one. 

I have noticed, said he, that you made this distinction a 
little while ago, and I know that our friend Antiochus used 
to speak in this manner. But what can be less approved of 
than the idea of a pei-son being happy, and yet not happy 
enough? For when anything is enough, then whatever is 
added to that is excess : and no one is too happy : and no 
one is happier than a happy man. Therefore, said he, was 
n(jt Quiutus Metellus, who saw three of his sons consuls, one 
of whom was also censor and celebrated a triumph, and a 
fourth praetor ; and who left them all in safety behind him, 
and who saw his three daughters married, having been him- 
self consul, censor and augur, and having celebiuted a 
triumph ; was he not, I say, in your opir-i'^n, (supposing him 
to have been a wise man,) happier than l^guius, who being 
in the power of the enem}^ was put to death by sleeplessness 
and hunger, though he may have been equally wise? 

XXVIII. Why do you ask me that? said I ; ask the Stoics. 
What answer, then, said he, do you suppose they will make ? 
They will say that Metellus was in no respect more happy 
than Regulus. Let us, then, said he, hear what they have 
got to say. But, said I, we are wandering from our subject ; 
for I am not asking what is true, but what each person 
ought to say. I wish, indeed, that they would say that one 
man is happier than another : you should see the ruin I would 
make of them. For, as the chief good consists in virtue alone, 
and in honourableness ; and as neither virtue, as they say, 
nor honourableness is capable of growth, and ;is that alone is 
good which makes him who enjoys it necessarily happy, as 
that in which alone happiness is placed cannot be increased, 
how is it possible that one person can be happier than another? 
Do you not see how all these things agree together ? And, 
in truth, (for I must avow what I iee\,'\ the mutual depend- 
ence of all these things on one another is marvellous : the 
last part corresponds to the first, the middle to each extremity, 
and each extremity to the other. They see all that follows 
from, or is inconsistent with them. In geometry, if you grant 
the premises the conclusion follows. Grant that there is 
nothing good except what is honourable, and you must gi-ant 
that happiness is placed in virtue alone. Try it the otheC 


way. If you gi'ant this conclusion, you must giant the pre- 
mises; bvit this is not the case with the arguments of your 
Bch3ol. There are three kinds of goods. Tl)e assertions go 
trippingly on : he comes to the conclusion : he sticks fast : 
he is in a difficulty ; fur he wishes to say, that nothing can 
be wanting to a wise man to complete his happiness — a very 
honourable sentiment, one worthy of Socrates, or even of 
Plato. Well, I do venture to assert that, says he. It is 
impossible, unless you remodel your premises : if poverty is 
an evil, no beggar can be happy be he ever so wise. But 
Zeno ventured to call siich a man not only happy, but also 

To be in pain is an evil ; the man who is fastened to a cross 
cannot be happy. Children are a good; childlessness is an 
evil. One's countiy is a good; exile is an evil. Health is a 
good ; disease is an evil. Vigour of body is a good ; feeble- 
ness is an evil. Clear sight is a good ; blindness is an evil. 
But, though a man may be able to alleviate any single one of 
these evils by consolation, how will he be able to endure them 
all 1 For, supjjose one person were blind, feeble, afflicted 
\\ith grievous sickness, banished, childless, in indigence, and 
put to the torture ; what will you call him, Zeno 1 Hapr)y, 
says he. Will you call him most perfectly hajipy'? To be 
sure I will, says he, when I have taught him that happiness 
does not admit of degrees any more than virtue, the mere 
possession of which makes him happy. This seems to you 
incredible that he can call him perfectly happy. What is 
your own doctrine 1 is that credible? For if you appeal to the 
people, you will never convince them that a man in siich a 
condition is happy. If you appeal to prudent men, perhaps 
they will doubt as to one point, namely, whether there is so 
much force in virtue that men endued with that can be ha^ipy, 
even in Phalaris's bull ; but they will not doubt at all tliat tho 
Stoic language is consistent with itself and that yours is not. 

Do you then, says he, approve of the book of Theophrastus 
on a happy life? We are wandering from our siibject; and 
that I may not be too tedious — if, said I, Piso, those things 
are evils, I wholly approve of it. Do not they then, said he, 
seem to you to be evils? Do you ask that? said I; what- 
ever answer I give yoii, you will find yourself in emban-ass- 
meut. How so ? said he. Because, if they are evils, a man 



who is affected with them cannot be happy. If they are not 
evils, there is an end to the whole system of the Peripatetics. 
And he laughing replied, I see what you are at; you are 
afraid I shall carry off your pupil. You may carry him off, 
said I, if he likes to follow you ; for he will still be with me 
if he is with you. 

XXIX. Listen then, said he, Lucius ; for, as Theo- 
phrastus says, I must direct my discourse to you, — the whole 
authority of philosophy consists in making life haj)py ; for 
we are all inflamed with a desire of living happily. This, 
both your brother and I agree upon. Wherefore we must 
see whether the system of the philosophers can give us this. 
It promises to do so certainly : for, unless it made that 
promise, why did Plato travel over Egypt, to learn numbers 
and knowledge of the heavenly mysteries from barbarian 
priests ? Why afterwards did he go to Tarentum to Archytas ; 
and to the other Pythagoreans of Locri, Ecliecrates, Timseus, 
and Acrion ; in order, after he had drained Socrates to the 
di-egs, to add the doctrine of the Pythagoz-eans to his, and to 
learn in addition those things which Socrates rejected? Why 
did Pythagoras himself travel over Egypt, and visit the 
Persian Magi ; why did he go on foot over so many countries 
of the barbarians, and make so many voyages? Why did 
Democritus do the same 1 who, (whether it is true or false, 
we will not stop to inquire.) is said to have put out his own 
eyes ; certainly, in order that his mind might be abstracted 
from contemplation as little as possible; he neglected his 
patrimony, and left his lands uncultivated, and what other 
object could he have had except a happy life 1 And if he 
placed that in the knowledge of things, still from that mvestiga- 
tion of natural philosophy he sought to acquire equanimity ; 
for he called the summuni bonum evdvfxca, and very often 
aOafiPia, that is to say, a mind free from alarm. But, althouo-h 
this was well said, it was not very elegantly expressed ; for 
he said very little about virtue, and even what he did say, he 
did not express very clearly. For it was not till after his death 
that these subjects were discussed in this city, first by So- 
crates, and from Socrates tliey got entrance into the Academy. 
Nor was there any doubt that all hope of living well and also 
happily was placed in virtue : and when Zeno had learnt 
this from our school, he began to express himself on the sama 


subject in anotlicr manner, aslawyersdo on trials. Al\ nov/ 
you approve of this conduct in him. Will you then say that 
he by changing the names of things escaped the charge of 
inconsistency, and yet not allow us to do so too 1 

He asserts that the life of Metellus was not happier than 
that of Regulus, but admits that it was preferable to it ; lie 
says it was not more to be sought after, but still to be 
taken in preference ; and that if one had a choice, one would 
clioose the life of Metellus, and reject that of Regulus. What 
then he calls preferable, and worthy to be chosen in pre- 
ference, I call happier; and yet I do not attribute more 
importance to tliat sort of life than tlie Stoics do. For what 
difference is tliere between us, except that I call well-known 
things by well-known names, and that they seek for new 
terms to express the same ideas 1 And so, as there is always 
some one in the senate who wants an interpreter, we, too, 
must listen to them with an interpreter. I call that good 
which is in accordance with nature ; and whatever is contrary 
to nature I call evil. Nor do I alone use the definition ; you 
do also, Chrysippus, in tht forum and at home ; but in tlie 
school you discard it. What theni Do you think that men 
in general ought to si)eak in one way, and philosophers in 
another, as to the importance of which everj'thing is'? that 
learned men should hold one language, and unlearned ones 
anotlier? But as learned men are agreed of how much im- 
portance everything is, (if they were men, they would speak 
in the usual fashion,) why, as long as they leave the focts 
alone, they are welcome to mould the names according to 
their fancy. 

XXX. But I come now to the charge of inconsistency, that 
you may not repeat that I am making digressions ; which 
you think exist only in language, but which I used to con- 
sider depended on the subject of which one was speaking. If 
it is sufficiently perceived (and here we have most excellent 
assistance from the Stoics), that the power of virtue is so 
great, tiiat if everything else were put on the opposite side, it 
would not be even visible, when all things which they admit 
at least to be advantages, and to deserve to be taken, and 
chosen, and preferred, and which they define as worthy -f 
being highly estuuated ; when, I say, I call these things 
goods which have so many names given them by the Stoics, 


Rome of which are new, and invented expi'essly for them, such 
as producta and reducta, and some of which are merely 
synonymous ; (for what difference can it make whether yoii 
wish for a thing or choose it 1 that which is chosen, and on 
which deliberate choice is exercised, appears to me to be the 
better) still, when I have called all these things goods, the 
question is merely how great goods I call them ; when I say 
they deserved to be wished for, the question is, — how eagerly 1 

But, if I do not attribute more importance to them when 
I say that they deserve to be wished for, than you do who 
say they only deserve to be cliosen, and if I do not value 
them more highly when I call them bona, than you, when 
you speak of them as producta ; then all these things mus* 
inevitably be involved in obscurity, and put out of sight, and 
lost amid the rays of virtue like stars in the sunbeams. But 
that life in which there is any evil cannot be happy. Then 
a corn-field full of thick and heavy ears of corn is not a corn- 
field if you see any tares anywhere 3 nor is traffic gainful if, 
amid the greatest gains, you incur the most trifling loss. Do 
we ever act on different principles in any circumstances of 
life ; and will you not judge of the whole from its greatest 
part % or is there any doubt that virtue is so much the most 
important thing in all human affairs, that it throws all the 
rest into the shade % 

I will venture, then, to call the rest of the things which 
are in accordance with nature, goods, and not to cheat them 
of their ancient title, rather than go and hunt for some new 
name for them ; and the dignity of virtue I will put, as it 
were, in the other scale of tlie balance. Believe me, that 
scale will outweigh both earth and sea; for the whole 
always has its name from that which embraces its largest 
part, and is the most widely diffused. We say that one man 
lives merrily. Is there, then, an end of this merry life of his 
if he is for a moment a little poor ? 

But, in the case of that Marcus Crassus, who, Lucilius 
says, laughed once in his life, the fact of his having done so 
did not deliver him from being called ayeAao-ros. They call 
Poly crates of Samos happy. Nothing had ever happened to 
him which he did not like, except that he had thrown into 
the sea a ring which he valued greatly ; therefore he was 
unhappy as to that one annoyance ; but subsequently he way 


PK Fli-'tnua, A TREATISE ON 

happy again wlien that same ring was found in the belly of a 
fisli. But lie, if he was unwise (which he certainly was, since 
he was a tyrant), was never happy ; if he was wise he was not 
miseral)le, even at the time when he was crucified by Orcetes, 
the lieutenant of Darius. But he had great evils inflicted on 
him. Who denies that? — but those evils were overcome by 
the greatness of his virtue. 

XXXI. Do you not grant even this to the Peripatetics, 
that they may say that the life of all good, that is, of all wise 
men, and of men adorned with every virtue, has in all its 
parts more good than evil? Who says this? The Stoics 
may say so. By no means. But do not those very men 
who measure everything by pleasure and j)ain. say loudly 
that the wise man has always more things which he likes than 
dislikes 1 When, then, these men attribute so much to virtue, 
who confess that they would not even lift a finger for the 
sake of virtue, if it did not bring pleasure with it, what ought 
we to do, who say that ever so inconsiderable an excellence 
of mind is so superior to all the goods of the body, that they 
are put wholly out of sight by it ? For who is there who can 
venture to say, that it can happen to a wise man (even it 
such a thing were possible) to discard virtue for ever, with a 
view of being released from all pain ? Who of our school, 
who are not ashamed to call those things evils which the 
Stoics call only bitter, would say that it was better to do 
anything dishonoui-ably with plciisiu-e than honourably with 
jjain ? To us, indeed, Dionysius of Heraclea appears to have 
deserted the Stoics in a shameful manner, on account of the 
pain of his eyes ; as if he had learnt from Zeno not to be in 
pain when he was in pain. He had heard, but he had not 
learnt, that it was not an evil, because it was not dishonour- 
able, and because it might be borne by a man. It he had 
been a Peripatetic he would, I suppose, have adhered to his 
opinion, since they say that pain is an evil. And with 
respect to bearing its bitterness, they give the same precepts 
as the Stoics ; and, indeed, ^'our friend Arcesilas, although 
he was a rather pertinacious arguer, was still on our side ; 
for he was a pupil of Polemo ; and when he was suffering 
under the |)ain of the gout, and Carneades, a most intimate 
friend of Epicurus, had come to see him, and was goiuir away 
very melancholy, said, " Stay awhile, I entreat you, friend 


Carneades , for the pain does not reach litre/' showing his 
feet and his breast. Still lie woiild have preferred being out 
of pain. 

XXXII. This, then, is our doctrine, which appears to yoti 
to be inconsistent, since, by reason of a certain heavenly, 
divine, and inexpressible excellence of virtue, so great, that 
wherever virtue and great, desirable, and praiseworthy 
exploits done by virtue are, there misery and grief cannot 
be, but nevertheless labour and annoyance can be, I do not 
hesitate to affirm that all wise men are always happy, but 
still, that it is possible that one man may be more happy 
than another. 

But this is exactly the assertion, Piso, said I, which you 
are bound to prove over and over again ; and if you establish 
it, then you may take with you not only my young Cicero 
here, but me too. Then, said Quiutus, it appears to me that 
this has been sufficiently proved. I am glad, indeed, that 
philosophy, the treasures of which I have been used to value 
above the possession of eveiyttiing else (so rich did it appear 
to me, that I could ask of it whatever I desired to know in 
our studies), — I rejoice, therefore, that it has been found more 
acute than all other arts, for it was in acuteness that some 
people asserted that it was deficient. Not a mite more so 
than ours, surely, said Pomponius, jestingly. But, seriously, 
I have been very much pleased witli what you have said ; for 
what I did not think could be expressed in Latin has been 
expressed by you, and that no less clearly than by the Greeks, 
and in not less well adapted language. But it is time to 
depart, if you please ; and let us go to my house. 

And when he had said this, as it appeared that we had 
discussed the subject sufficiently, 've aU went into the town 
to the house of Pomponius. 




In the year a.u.c. 708, and the 62d year of Cicero's age, his 
daughter, TulHa, died in childbed ; and her loss afflicted Cicero 
to such a degree tliat he abandoned all public business, and, 
leaving the city, retired to Asterra, which was a country house 
that he had near Antium ; where, after a while, he devoted 
himself to philosophical studies, and, besides other works, he 
published his Treatise de Finibus, and also this Treatise called 
the Tusculan Disputations, of which Middletou gives this con- 
cise description : — 

" The first book teaches us how to contemn the terrors of 
death, and to look upon it as a blessing rather than an evil : 

" The second, to support pain and affliction with a manly 
fortitude ; 

" The third, to appease all our complaints and uneasinesses 
under the accidents of life ; 

" The fourth, to moderate all our other passions ; 

" And the fifth explains the sufficiency of virtue to make 
men happy." 

It was his custom in the opportunities of his leisure to take 
some friends with him into the country, where, instead of 
amusing themselves with idle sports or feasts, their diversions 
were wholly speculative, tending to improve the mind and 
enlarge the understanding. In this manner he now spent five 
days at his Tusculan villa in discussing with his friends the 
several questions just mentioned. For, after employing the 
mornings in declaiming and rhetorical exercises, they used to 
retire in the afternoon into a gallery, called the Academy, 
which he had built for the purpose of philosophical con- 
ferences, where, after the manner of the Greeks, he held a 
school as they called it, and invited the company to call for any 
subject that they desired to hear explained, which being pro- 
posed accordingly by some of the audience became immediately 


tlie argument of that day's debate. These five conferences or 
dialogues he collected aftenvards into writing in the very 
words and manner in which they really passed ; and published 
them under the title of his Tusculan Disputations, from tha 
name of the villa in which they were held. 



I. At a time when I had entirely, or to a great degi'ee, 
released myself from my labours as an advocate, and from my 
duties as a senator, I had recourse again, Brutus, principally 
by your advice, to those studies which never had been out of 
my mind, aitliough neglected at times, and which after a long 
interval I resumed : and now since the principles and rules 
of all arts which relate to living well depend on the study of 
wisdom, which is called philosophy, I have thought it an em- 
ployment worthy of me to illustrate them in the Latin tongue ' 
not because philosophy could not be understood in the Greek 
language, or by the teaching of Greek masters; but it has 
always been my opinion, that our countrymen have, in some 
instances, made wiser discoveries than the Greeks, with refer- 
ence to those subjects which they have considered worthy ot 
devoting tlieir attention to, and in others have improved upon 
their discoveries, so that in one way or other we surpass them 
on every point : for, with regai'd to the manneivs and habits of 
private life, and family and domestic affairs, we certainly 
manage them with more elegance, and better than they did ; 
and as to our republic, that our ancestors have, beyond all 
dispute, formed on better customs and laws. What shall I 
say of our military affixirs; in which our ancestors have been 
most eminent in valour, and still more so in discipline ? As 
to those things which are attained not by study, but nature, 
neither Greece, nor any nation, is comparable to us : for what 
people has displayed such gravity, such steadiness, such great- 
ness of soul, probity, faith — such distinguished virtue of every 
kind, as to be equal to our ancestors. In learning, indeed, 
and all kinds of literature, Greece did excel us, and it waa 


easy to do so where there was no competition; for wliilo 
amongst the Greeks the poets were the most ancient species 
of learned men, — since Homer and Hesiod lived before the 
foundation of Rome, and Archilochus' was a contemporary of 
Romulus, — wc received poetry mucii later. For it was about 
five hundred and ten years after the V)uilding of Rome before 
Livius" published a play in the consulship of C. Claudius, the 
son of C"a3cus, and M. Tuditanus, a year before the birth of 
Ennius, who was older than Plautus and Naivius. 

II. It was, therefore, late before poets were eitlier known 
or received amongst us; though we lind in Cato de Origiuibus 
that the guests used, at their entertainments, to sing the 
praises of famous men to the sound of the flute; but a speech 
of Cato's sliows this kind of poetiy to have been in no great 
esteem, as he censures Marcus Nobilior, for carrying poets 
with him into his province : for that consul, as we know, 
can-ied Ennius with him into iEtolia. Therefore the less 
esteem poets were in, the less were those studies pursued: 
though even then those who did display the greatest aliilities 
that way, were not very inferior to the Greeks. Do we imagine 
that if it had been considered commendable in Fabius,^ a man 
of the highest rank, to paint, we should not have had many 

^ Arcliiloclms was a ivative of Paros, and flourished about 714 — 67G, 
B.C. His poems were cliieflv lamljics of bitter satire. Horace sp.aks of 
him as the inventor of Iambics, and calls himself his pupil. 

Parios ego primus lambos 
Ostendi Latio, numeros animosque secutus 
Archilochi, non res et agentia verba Lycamben, 

Epist. I. xix. 25. 
And in another place he says — 

Archilochum proprio rabies armavit lambo. — A. P. 74. 
2 This was Livius Andronicus : he is supposed to have been a native 
of Tarentum, and he was made prisoner by the Romans, during their 
wars in Southern Italy; owing to which he became the slave of 
M. Livius Salinator. He wrote both comedies and tragedies, of which 
Cicero (Brutus 18) speaivs very contemptuously, as " Livianas fabulae 
non satin dignoe quae iteruni Icgantur,"'— not worth reading a second 
time. He also wrote a Latin Odyssey, and some hymns, and died pro- 
batilj- about b.c. 221. 

^ C. Fabius, surnamed Pictor, painted the temple of Salus, which the 
dictator C. Junius Bruius Bubulus dedicated b.c. 302. The templo 
was destroyed by fi e in the reign of Claudius. The oainting is highly 
praised by Diouysius, xvi. (5. 


Polycleti and Parrhasii? Honour nourishes art, and glory is 
the spur with all to studies; while those studies are always 
ueglected in every nation, wliich are looked upon dis- 
paragingly. The Greeks lield skill in vocal and instrumental 
music as a very important accomplishment, and therefore it 
is recorded of Epaminondas, who, in my opinion, was the 
greatest man amongst the Greeks, that he played excellently 
on the flute ; and Themistocles some years bel'ore was deemed 
ignorant because at an entertainment he declined the lyre 
when it was offered to him. For this reason musicians 
flourished in Greece ; music was a general study ; and who- 
ever was unacquainted with it, was not considered as fully 
instructed in learning. Geometry was in high esteem with 
them, therefore none were more honourable than mathemati- 
cians ; but we have confined this art to bare measuring and 

IT I. But on the contrary, we early entertained an esteem 
for the orator ; though he was not at first a man of learning, 
but only quick at speaking ; in subsequent times he became 
learned ; for it is reported that Galba, Africanus, and Lajlius, 
were men of learning; and that even Cato, who preceded 
them in point of time, was a studious man : then succeeded 
the Lepidi, Carbo, and Gracchi, and so many great orators 
after them, down to our own times, that wo were vei'y little, 
if at all, inferior to the Greeks. Philoso]>hy has been at a 
low ebb even to this present time, and has had no assistance 
from our own language, and so now I have undertaken to 
raise and illustrate it, in order that, as I have been of service 
to my countrymen, when employed on public affairs, T may, 
if possible, be so likewise in my retirement ; and in this I 
must take the moi-e pains, because there are already many 
books in the Latin language which are said to be written 
inaccurately, having been composed by excellent men, only 
not of sufficient learning : for indeed it is possible that, a man 
may think well, and yet not be able to express his thoughts 
elegantly ; but for any one to publish thoughts which he can 
neither arrange skilfully nor illustrate so as to entertain his 
reader, is an unpardonable abuse of letters and retirement : 
they, tlierefore, read their books to one another, and no one 
ever takes them up but those who wish to have the same 
licence for cai'eless wriling allowed to themselves. Where" 

288 THE Tnsm.AN msputatiovs. 

fore, if oratory has acquired any reputation from my in- 
dustry, I shall take the more pains to open the fountains 
of philosopliy, from which all my eloquence has taken its 

IV. But, as Aristotle,^ a man of the greatest genius, and of 
the most various knowledge, being excited by the gloiy of the 
rhetorician Isocrates," commenced teaching young men to 
speak, and joined philosophy with eloquence : so it is my 
design not to lay aside my former study of oratory, and yet to 
employ myself at the same time in this gi-eater and more 
fruitful art; for I have always thought, that to be able to 
speak copiously and elegantly on the most important ques- 
tions, was the most perfect philosophy. And I have so 
diligently applied myself to this pursuit that I have already 
ventured to have a school like the Greeks. And lately when 
yoii left us, having many of my friends about me, I attempted 
at my Tusculan villa what I could do in that way; for as I 
formerly used to practise declaiming, which nobody continued 
longer than mj'self, so this is now- to be the declamation of 
my old age. I desired any one to propose a question which 
he wished to have discussed : and then I argued that point 
either sitting or walking, and so I have compiled the scholae, 
as the Greeks call them, of five days, in as many books. We 
proceeded in this manner : when he wlio had proposed the 
subject for discussion had said what he thought proper, I 
spoke against him ; for this is, you know, the old and Socratic 
method of aruuing against another's opinion ; for Socrates 
thouglit that thus the truth would more easily be arrived at. 
But to give you a better notion of our disputations, I will not 
barely send you an account of them, but represent them to 
you as they were earned on ; therefore let the introduction be 
thus: — 

V. A. To me death seems to be an evil. 

II. What to those who are ah-eady dead? or to those who 
must die? 
A. To both. 

' For an account of the ancient Greek philosophers, see the sketch 
at the end of the volume. 

2 Isocrates was born at Athens, B.C. 436. He was a pupil of Gorgias, 
Prodicus and Socrates. He opened a school of rhetoric, at Athens, with 
jreat «uccos3. He died by his own hand at the age of 98. 


M. It is a miseiy then, because an evil? 

A. Certainly. 

M. Then those who have already died, and those who have 
still got to die, are both miserable 1 

A. So it appears to me. 

M. Then all are miserable? 

A. Every one. 

M. And, indeed, if you wish to be consistent, all that are 
already born, or ever shall be, are not only miserable, but 
always will be so; for should you maintain those only to be 
miserable, you would not except any one li\ang, for all must 
die ; but there should be an end of misery in death. But 
seeing that the dead are miserable, we are born to eternal 
miseiy, for they must of consequence be miserable who died a 
hundred thousand years ago; or rather, all that have ever 
been born. 

A. So, indeed, I think. 

M. Tell me, I beseech you, are you afi'aid of the three- 
headed Cerbeiiis in the shades below, and the roaring waves 
of Cocytus, and the passage over Acheron, and Tantalus 
expiring with thirst, while the water touches his chin; and 

Who sweats with arduous toil in vain 
The steepy summit of the mount to gain] 

Perhaps, too, you dread the inexorable judges, Minos and 
Rhadamanthus ; before whom neither L. Crassus, nor M. Anto- 
nius can defend you ; and where, since the cause lies before 
Grecian judges, you will not even be able to employ Demos- 
thenes : but you must plead for yourself before a very great 
assembly. These things perhaps you dread, and therefore look 
on death as an eternal evil. 

VI. A . Do you take me to be so imbecile as to give credit 
to such things ] 

M. What % do you not believe them ? 

A. Not in the least. 

M. I am sorry to hear that. 

A. Why, I beg % 

M. Because I could have been very eloquent in speaking 
against them. 

A. And who could not on such a subject 1 or, what trouble 



IK it to refute these monstrous inventions of the poets and 
painters ? ' 

M. And yet you have books of philosophers full of argu- 
ments against these. 

A. A great waste of time, truly ! for, who is so weak as t».> 
be concerned about them ] 

M. If, then, there is no one miseraV)le in the inferna* 
regions, there can be no one there at all. 

A. I am altogether of that opinion. 

M. Where, tlien, are those you call miserable ? or what 
place do they inhabit ] for, if they exist at all, they must be 
somewhere % 

A. I, indeed, am of opinion that they are nowhere. 

M. Then they have no existence at all. 

A. Even so, and yet they are misei'able for this very 
reason, that they have no existence. 

M. I had rather now have you afraid of Cerberus, than 
speak thus inaccurately. 

A. In what respect ? 

M. Because you admit him to exist whose existence you 
deny with the same breath. Where now is your sagacity? 
when you say any one is misera-jle, you say that he who 
does not exist, does exist. 

A. I am not so absurd as to say that. 

M. What is it that you do say, then ? 

A. I say, for instance, that Marcus Crassus is miserable in 
being deprived of such great riches as his by death ; that 
Cn. Pompey is miserable, in being taken from such glory and 
honour ; and in short, that all are miserable who are deprived 
of this light of life. 

M. You have retm-ned to the same point, for to be mise- 
rable implies an existence ; but you just now denied that the 
dead had any existence ; if, then, they have not, they can be 
nothing ; and if so, they are not even miserable. 

' So Horace joins these two classes as inventors of all kinds of ini' 
probable fictions — 

Pictoribus atque poetis 
Quidlibet audendi semper fult sequa potestas. — A. P. 9. 
Which Roscommon translates — 

Painters and poets have been still allow'd 
Their pencil aj*'l their fancies unconiiuocl. 


A. Perhaps I do not express what I mean, for I look upon 
this very circumstance, not to exist after having existed, to 
be very miserable. 

M. What, more so than not to have existed at all 1 there- 
fore, those who are not yet born, are miserable because the}^ 
ai'e not; and we oui'selves, if we are to be miserable after 
death, were miserable before we were born : but I do not 
remember that T was miserable before I was born ; and 
I shovdd be glad to know, if your memory is bettei", what 
you recollect of yourself before you were born. 

VII. A. You ai-e pleasant; as if I had said that those men 
are miserable who are not born, and not that they are so who 
are dead. 

M. You say, then, that they are so ? 

A. Yes, I say that because they no longer exist after 
having existed, they are miserable. 

If. You do not perceive, that you are asserting contradic- 
tions ; for what is a greater contradiction, than that that 
should be not only miserable, but should have any existence 
at all, which does not exist ? When you go out at the Capene 
gate and see the tombs of the Calatini, the Scipios, Servilii, 
and Metelli, do you look on them as miserable 1 

A . Because you press me witli a word, henceforward I will: 
not say they are miserable absolutely, but miserable on this 
account, because they have no existence. 

M. You do not say, then, " M. Crassus is miserable," but 
only " Miserable M. Crassus." 

A. Exactly so. 

M. As if it did not follow, that whatever you speak of in 
that manner, either is or is not. Are you not acquainted 
with the first principles of logic 1 for this is the first thing 
they lay down, Whatever is asserted, (for that is the best way 
that occurs to me, at the moment, of rendering the Greek term, 
d^Lwfia, if I can think of a more accurate expression hereafter 
I will use it,) is asserted as being either true or false. When, 
therefore, you say, " Miserable M. Crassus," you either say 
this, " M. Crassus is miserable," so that some judgment may 
be made whether it is true or false, or you say nothing at all. 

A. Well, then, I now own that the dead are not miserable, 
since you have drawn from me a concession, that they who 
io not exist at all, caimot be miserable. What theni we that 


are alive, are we not wretched, seeing we must diel for what 
is there agreeable in life, when we must night and day reflect 
that, at some time or other, we must die 1 

VIII. M. Do you not, then, perceive how great is the evil 
from which you have delivered human nature 1 

A. By what means 1 

M. Because, if to die were miserable to the dead, to live 
would be a kind of infinite and eternal misery : now, how- 
ever, I see a goal, and when I have I'eached it, there is nothing 
more to be feared ; but you seem to me to follow the opinion 
of Epicharmus,' a man of some discernment, and sharp enough 
for a Sicilian. 

A. What opinion 1 for I do not recollect it. 

M. I will tell you if I can in Latin, for you know I am no 
more used to bring in Latin sentences in a Greek discourse, 
than Greek in a Latin one. 

A. And that is right enough: but what is that opinion of 
Epicharmus 1 

M. I would not die, but yot 

Am not concerned that 1 shall be dead. 

A. I now recollect the Greek, but since you have obliged 
me to grant that the dead are not miserable, proceed to con- 
vince me that it is not miserable to be under a necessity of 

M. That is easy enough, but I have greater things in hand. 

A. How comes that to be so easy % and w^hat are those 
things of more consequence % 

M. Thus : because, if there is no evil after death, then 
even death itself can be none ; for that which immediately 
succeeds that is a state where you grant that there is no evil ; 
so that even to be obliged to die can be no evil ; for that is 
only the being obliged to arrive at a place where we allow that 
no evil is. 

A. I beg you will be more explicit on this point, for these 
subtle arguments force me sooner to admissions than to con- 
viction. But wliat are those more important things about 
which you s;iy that you are occupied ? 

' Epicharmurt was a nativ<> of Cos, luit lived at Jlegara, in Sicily, and 
when Mtgara was destroyed, removed to Syracuse, and lived at the 
court of Hiero, where he became the first writer of comedies, so that 
Horace ascribes the invention of comedy to him, and so does Theocritua. 
He lived to a great age. 


M. To teach you, if I can, that death is not only no evil, 
but a good 

A. I do not insist on that, but snould be glad to hear you 
argue it, for even though you shovild not prove your point, 
yet you will prove that death is no evil : but I will not inter- 
rupt yon, I would rather hear a continued discourse. 

M. What, if I should ask you a question, would you not 
answer ? 

A. That would look like pride; but I would rather you 
should not ask but where necessity requires. 

TX. M. I will coiuply with your wishes, and explain aa 
well as I can, what you require ; but not with any idea that, 
like the Pythian Apollo, what I say must needs be certain and 
indisputable ; but as a mere man, endeavouring to arrive at 
probabilities by conjecture, for I have no ground to proceed 
further on than probability. Those men may call their 
statements indisputable who assert that what they say can be 
perceived by the senses, and who proclaim themselves philo- 
sophers by profession. 

A. Do as you please, we are ready to hear you. 

M. The first thing, then, is to inquire what death, which 
seems to be so well understood, really is; for some imagine 
death to be the departure of the soul from the body ; others 
think that there is no such departure, but that soul and body 
perish together, and that the soul is extinguished with 
the body. Of those who think that the soul does depart 
from the body, some believe in its immediate dissolution ; 
others fancy that it continues to exist for a time ; and others 
believe that it lasts for ever. There is great dispute even what 
the soul is, where it is, and whence it is derived : with some, 
the heart itself (cor) seems to be the soul, hence the expres- 
sions, excordes, vecordes, Concordes; and that prudent Nasica, 
who was twice consul, was called Corculus, i. e. wise-heart ; 
and iElius Sextus is described as Egregie cordatus homo, 
catus jEUijC Sextus — that great wise-hearted man, sage Julius. 
Em^jedocles imagines the blood, which is suifused over the 
heart, to be the soul ; to others, a certain part of the brain 
seems to be the throne of the soul ; others neither allow tho 
heart itself, nor any portion of the brain, to be the soul . but 
think either that the heart is the seat and aliode of the soul; 
or else that the brain is so Some wtiuld have the soul, or 


spirit, to 1)C tlie anima, as our schools generally agree; and 
indeed tlie name signifies as much, for we use the expressions 
animam agere, to live ; animam efflare, to expire ; animosi, 
men of spirit; bene animati, men of right feeling; exanimi 
sententia, according to our real opinion — and the very word 
animus is derived from anima. Again, the soul seems to 
Zeno the Stoic to be fire. 

X. But what I have said as to the heart, the Vilood, the 
brain, air, or fire being the soul, are common opinions : the 
others are only entertained by individuals ; and indeed there 
were many amongst the ancients who held singular opinions 
on this subject, of whom the latest was Aristoxenus, a man 
who was both a musician and a philosopher ; he maintained a 
certain straining of the body, like what is called hai-mony in 
music, to be the soul ; and believed that, from the figure and 
nature of the whole body, various motions are excited, as 
soinids are from an instrument. He adhered steadily to his 
system, and yet he said something, the nature of which, what- 
ever it was, had been detailed and explained a great while 
before by Plato. Xenocrates denied that the soul had any 
figure, or anything like a body; but said it was a number, 
the power of which, as Pythagoras had fancied, some ages 
before, was the greatest in nature : his master, Plato, ima- 
gined a three-fold soul; a dominant portion of which, that 
is to say, reason, he had lodged in the head, as in a tower; 
and the other two parts, namely, anger and desire, he made 
subservient to this one, and allotted them distinct abodes, 
placing anger in the breast, and desire under the praecordia. 
But Dicsearchus, in that discoui-se of some learned disputants, 
held at Corinth, which he details to us in three books; in the 
first book introduces many speakers ; and in the other two 
he introduces a certain Pherecmtes, an old man of Phthia, 
who, as he said, was descended from Deucalion; asserting, 
that there is in fiict no such thing at all as a soul ; but that 
it is a name, without a meaning ; and that it is idle to use 
the expression, " animals," or "animated beings;" that neither 
men nor beasts have minds or souls ; but that all that power, 
by which we act or perceive, is equally infused into eveiy 
living creature, and is inseparable from the body, for if it were 
not, it would be nothing; nor is there anything whatever 
really exiatiug' except body, which ia a single and simple 


tiling, SO fashioned, as to live and have its sensations in 
consequence of the regulations of nature. Aristotle, a man 
superior to all others, both in genius and industry (I always 
except Plato), after having embraced these four known sorts 
of principles, from which all things deduce their origin, ima- 
gines that there is a certain fifth nature, from whence comes 
the soul ; for to think, to foresee, to learn, to teach, to invenf 
anything, and many other attributes of the same kind, such as, 
to remember, to love, to hate, to desire, to fear, to be pleased 
or displeased; these, and others like them, exist, he thinks, 
in none of those first four kinds : on such account he adds 
a fifth kind, which has no name, and so by a new name he 
calls the soul evSeXex^ta, as if it were a certain continued and 
perpetual motion. 

XI. If I have not forgotten anything unintentionally, 
these are the principal opinions concerning the soul. I have 
omitted Democritus, a very great man indeed, but one who 
deduces the soul from the fortuitous concourse of small, 
light, and round substances; for, if you believe men of his 
school, there is nothing which a crowd of atoms cannot 
effect. Which of these opinions is true, some god must 
determine. It is an important question for us, which has 
the most appearance of truth. Shall we, then, prefer deter- 
mining between them, or shall we return to our subject 1 

A. I could wish both, if possible; but it is difficult to mix 
them ; therefore, if without a discussion of them we can get 
rid of the feara of death, let us proceed to do so; but if this 
is not to be done without explaining the question about souls, 
let us have that now, and the other at another time. 

M. I take that plan to be the best, which I perceive you 
are inclined to; for reason will demonstrate that, whichever of 
the opinions which I have stated is true, it must follow, then, 
that death cannot be an evil ; or that it must rather be 
something desirable, for if either the heart, or the blood, or 
the brain, is the soul, then certainly the soul, being corporeal, 
must perish with the rest of the body; if it is air, it will 
perhaps be dissolved; if it is fire, it will be extinguished; if 
it is Aristoxenus's harmony, it will be put out of tune. What 
Khali I say of Dicsearchus, wlu) denies that there is any soul ? 
In all these opinions, there is nothing to affect any one after 
death; for all feeling is lost with life and where there is no 


Bciisatiou, nothing can interfere to affect us. The opinions ci 
others du indeed bring iis hope; if it is any pleasure to you 
to tliink tliat souls, after they leave the body, may go to 
heaven as to a permanent home. 

A. I have great pleasure in that thought, and it is what I 
most desire ; and even if it should not be so, I should still be 
very willing to believe it. 

M. What occasion have you, then, for my assistance? am I 
superior to Plato in eloquence 1 Turn over carefully his book 
that treats of the soul, you will have there all that you can 

A. I have, indeed, done that, and often; but, I know not how 
it comes to pass, I agree with it whilst I am reading it, but 
when I have laid down the book, and begin to reflect with my- 
self on the immortality of the soul, all that agreement vanishes. 

M. How comes that '? do you admit this, that souls either 
exist after death, or else that they also perish at the moment 
of death 1 

A. I agree to that. And if they do exist, I admit that they 
are happy ; but if they perish, I cannot suppose them to be 
unhappy, because, in fact, they have no existence at all. You 
drove me to tliat concession but just now. 

31. How, then, can you, or why do you, assert that you think 
that death is an evil, wlien it either makes us happy, in the case 
of the soul continuing to exist, or, at all events, not unhappy, 
in the case of our becoming destitute of all sensation. 

XII. A. Explain, therefore, if it is not troublesome to you, 
first, if you can, that souls do exist after death; secondly, 
should you fail in that, (and it is a very difficult thing to 
establish,) that death is free from all evil; for I am not 
without my fears that this itself is an evil ; I do not mean 
the immediate deprivation of sense, but the fact that we shall 
hereafter suffer deprivation. 

jM. I have the best authority in support of the opinion you 
desire to have established, which ought, and generally has, 
great weight in all cases. And fu-st, I have all antiquity on 
that side, which the more near it is to its origin and divine 
descent, the more clearly, perhaps, on that account did it dis- 
cern the truth in these matters. Tiiis very doctrine, then, was 
adopted by all those ancients, whom Ennius calls in the Sabine 
tongue, Casci. namely, that in deatli there was a sensation, aaid 


that, when men departed this life, they were not so entirely 
destroyed as to perish absolutely. And this may appear from 
many uther circumstances, and especially from the pontifical 
rites and funeral obsequies, which men of the greatest genius 
would not have been so solicitous about, and would not have 
guarded from any injury by such severe laws, but from a 
firm persuasion that death was not so entire a destruction as 
wholly to abolish and destroy everything, but rather a kind 
of transmigration, as it were, and change of life, which was, 
in the case of illustrious men and women, usually a guide to 
heaven, while in that of others, it was still confined to the 
earth, but in such a manner as still to exist. From this, and 
the sentiments of the Romans, 

In heaven llomulus with Gods now lives ; 
as Ennius saith, agreeing with the common belief; hence, too 
Hercules is considered so great and propitious a god amongst 
tlie Greeks, and from them he was introduced among us, and 
his worship has extended even to the very ocean itself. This 
is how it was that Bacchus was deified, the offspring of 
Semele; and from the same illustrious fame we receive Castor 
and Pollux as gods, who are reported not only to have helped 
the Romans to victory in their battles, but to have been the 
messengers of their success What shall we say of Ino, the 
daughter of Cadmus ? is she not called Leucothea by the 
Greeks, and Matuta by us? Nay more; is not the whole of 
heaven (not to dwell on particulars) almost filled with the 
offspring of men 1 

Should I attempt to search into antiquity, and produce 
from thence what the Greek writers have asserted, it would 
appear that even those who are called their principal gods, 
were taken from among men up into heaven. 

XIII. Examine the sepulchres of those which are shown 
in Greece ; recollect, for you have been initiated, what lessons 
are taught in the mysteries ; then will you perceive how ex- 
tensive this doctrine is. But they who were not acquainted 
with natural philosophy, (for it did not begin to be in 
vogue till many years later,) had no higher belief than what 
natural reason could give them ; they were not acquainted 
with the principles and causes of things ; they were often 
induced by certain visions, and those generally in the night, 
to think that those men, who had depaited from this life, were 


still alive. An 1 this may farther be brought as an irrefragable 
argument for as to believe that there are gods, — that tliere 
never was any nation so barbarous, nor any people in 
the world so savage, as to be without some notion of gods ; 
many have wrong notions of the gods, for that is the nature 
and ordinary consetpience of bad customs, yet all allow that 
there is a certain divine nature and energy. Nor does this 
proceed from the conversation of men, or the agreement of 
philosophers; it is not an opinion established by institutions 
or by laws; but, no doubt, iia every case the consent of all 
nations is to be looked on as a law of nature. Who is there, 
then, that does not lament the loss of his friends, principally 
from imagining them deprived of the conveniences of life 1 
Take away this opinion, and you remove with it all grief; for 
no one is afflicted merely on account of a loss sustained by 
himself. Perhaps we may be sorry, and grieve a little ; but 
that bitter lamentation, and those mournful tears, have their 
origin in our apprehensions that he whom we loved is 
deprived of all the advantages of life, and is sensible of his 
loss. And we are led to this opinion by nature, without any 
arguments or any instruction. 

XIV. But the greatest proof of all is, that nature herself 
gives a silent judgment in favour of the immortality of the 
soul, inasmuch as all are anxious, and that to a great degree, 
about the things which concern futurity ; — 

One plants what future ages shall enjoy, 
as Statins saith in his Synephebi. What is his object in doing 
so, except that he is interested in posterity 1 Shall the in- 
dustrious husbandman, then, plant trees the fruit of which he 
shall never see 1 and shall not the great man found laws, 
institutions, and a I'epublic 1 What does the procreation of 
children imply — and our care to continue our names — and 
our adoptions — and our scrupulous exactness in drawing up 
wills — and the inscriptions on monuments, and panegyrics, but 
that our thoughts run on futurity 1 There is no doubt but 
a judgment may be formed of nature in general, from looking 
at each nature in its most perfect specimens; and what is a 
more perfect specimen of a man, than those are who look on 
themselves as born for the assistance, the protection, and the 
preservation of others ? Hercules lias gone to heaven ; he 
never would have gone thither, had he not, whilst amongs) 


men, made that road for himself. These things are of old 
date, and have, besides, the sanction of universal religion. 

XV. What will you say 1 what do you imagine that so many 
and such great men of our republic, who have sacrificed their 
lives for its good, expected 1 Do you believe that they 
thought that their names should not continue beyond their 
lives 1 None ever encountered death for their country, but 
under a firm persuasion of immortality ! Themistocles might 
have lived at his ease; so might Epaminondas; and, not to 
look abroad and amongst the ancients for instances, so might 
I myself But. somehow or other, there clings to our minds 
a certain presage of future ages; and this both exists most 
firmly and appears most clearly, in men of the loftiest genius 
and greatest souls. Take away this, and who would be so 
mad as to spend his life aiiiidst toils and dangers ? I speak 
of those in power. What are the poet's views but to be 
ennobled after death 1 What else is the object of these 
lines — 

Behold old Ennius here, who erst 
Thy fathers' great exploits I'ehearsed ] 

He is challenging the reward of glory from those men whose 
ancestors he himself had ennobled by his poetry. And iu 
the same spirit he says in another passage — 

Let none with tears my funeral grace, for I 
Claim from my work8 an immortality. 

Why do I mention poets 1 the very mechanics are desirous of 
fame after death. Why did Phidias include a likeness of him- 
self in the shield of Minerva, when he was not allowed to 
inscribe his name on it 1 What do our philosophers think 
on the subject 1 do not they put their names to those very 
books which they write on the contempt of glory 1 If, then, 
universal consent is the voice of nature, and if it is the 
general opinion everywhere, that those who have quitted this 
life are still interested in something; we also must subscribe 
to that opinion. And if we think that men of the greatest 
abilities and virtue see most clearly into the power of nature, 
because they themselves are her most perfect work ; it is very 
probable that, as every great man is especially anxious to 
benefit posterity, there is something of which he himself will 
be sensible after death. 

XVI. But as we are led by nature to think there are godfi^ 


and as we discover, by reason, of what description they are^ 
so, by the consent of all nations, we are induced to believe 
that our souls survive ; but where their habitation is, and of 
what character they eventually are, must be learned from 
reason. The want of any certain reason on which to argue has 
given rise to the idea of the shades below, and to those fears, 
which you seem, not without reason, to despise : for as our 
bodies fall to the ground, and are covered with earth (humus), 
from whence we derive the expression to be interred (Jmmari), 
that has occasioned men to imagine that the dead continue, 
during the remainder of their existence, under ground ; which 
opinion has drawn after it many errors, which the poets 
have increased ; for the theatre, being frequented by a large 
crowd, among which are women and children, is Yvont to he 
greatly affected on hearing such pompous verses as these — 

Lo ! here I am, who scarce could gain this place, 
Through stony mountains and a dreary waste; 
Through clifl's, whose sharpen'd stones tremendous hung, 
Where dreadful darkness spread itself around : 

and the error prevailed so much, though indeed at present it 
seems to me to be removed, that although men knew that 
the bodies of the dead had been burned, yet they conceived 
such things to be done in the infernal regions as could not 
be executed or imagined without a body ; for they could not 
conceive how disembodied souls could exist; and, therefore, 
they looked out for some shape or figure. This was the 
origin of all that account of the dead in Homer. This was 
the idea that caused my friend Appius to frame his Necro- 
mancy ; and this is how there got about that idea of the lake 
of Avernus, in my neighbourhood, — 

From whence the souls of undistinguish'd shape, 

Clad in thick shade, rush from the open gate 

Of Acheron, vain phantoms of the dead. 

And they must needs have these appearances speak, which is 
not possible without a tongue, and a palate, and jaws, and 
without the help of lungs and sides, and without some sliape 
or figure ; for they could see nothing by their mind alone, 
they referred all to their eyes. To withdraw the mind from 
sensual objects, and abstract our thoughts from what we are 
accustomed to, is an attribute of great genius : I am per- 
suaded, indeed, that there were many such men in former 


ages: but Pheref.ydes' the Syrian is the first on record who 
said that tlie souls of men were immortal; and he was a 
philosopher of great antiquity in the reign of my namesake 
TuUus. His disciple Pythagoras greatly confirmed this 
opinion, who came into Italy in the reign of Tarquin the 
Proud : and all that country which is called Great Greece 
was occupied by his school, and he himself was held in high 
honour, and had the greatest authority : and the Pythagorean 
sect was for many ages after in such great credit, that all 
learning was believed to be confined to that name. 

XVII. But 1 return to the ancients. They scarcely ever gave 
any reason for their opinion but what could be explained by 
numbers or definitions. It is reported of Plato, that he came 
into Italy to make himself acquainted with the Pythago- 
reans; and that when there, amongst others, he made an 
acquaintance with Ai'chytas" and Timseus,^ and learned from 
them all the tenets of the Pythagoreans; and that he not 
only was of the same opinion with Pythagoras concerning the 
immortality of the soul, but that he also brought reasons in 
support of it ; which, if you have nothing to say against it, I 
will pass over, and say no more at present about all this hojje 
of immortality. 

A. What, will you leave me when you have raised my 
expectations so high 1 I had rather, so help me Hercules ! be 
mistaken with Plato, whom I know how much you esteem, 

' Pherecyde? was a native of Scyros. one of the Cyclades ; and is said to 
have obtained his knowledge from the s:ecret books of the Phoenicians. 
He is said also to have been a pupil of Pittaciis, the rival of Thales, and 
the master of Pythagoras. His doctrine was that there were three prin- 
ciples, Zivs, or iEther, X6uv, or Chaos, and XpiJcos, or Time ; and four 
elements, Fire, Earth, Air, and Water, from which everything that exists 
was formed — Vide Smith's Diet, tin, and Horn. Biog. 

^ Archytas was a native of Tarentum, and is said to have saved the 
life of Plato by his influence with the tyrant Dionysius. He was espe- 
cially great as a mathematician and geometrician, so that Horace 
calls him 

Maris et terree numeroque carentis arenas 
Mensorem. Od. i. 28. 1. 

Plato is supposed to have learnt some of his views from him, and 
Aristotle to nave borrowed from him every idea of the Categories. 

^ This was not Timaeus the historian, but a native of Locri, who is 
said also in the De Finibus (c. 29) to have been a teacher of Plato. 
There is a treatise extant bearing his name, which is, however, probably 
spurious, and only an abridgment of Plato's dialogue Timaeus. 


and whom I ainiire my.sclf from what you say of him, than 
be in the right witii those others. 

M. I commend you; for, indeed, I could myself willingly 
be niistaken in iiis company. Do we, then, doubt, as we do in 
other cases, (though I think here is very little room for doubt 
in this case, for the mathematicians prove the facts to u.s,) 
that the earth is placed in the midst of the world, being as it 
were a sort of point, which they call a Kivrpov, surrounded by 
the whole heavens; and that such is the nature of the four 
principles, which are the generating causes of all things, that 
they have equally divided amongst them the constituents of 
all bodies ; moreover that earthy and humid bodies are carried 
at equal angles, by their own weight and ponderosity, into the 
earth and sea ; that the other two parts consist one of fire and 
the other of air? As the two former are carried by their gravity 
and weight into the middle region of the world; so these, on 
the other hand, ascend by right lines into the celestial 
regions; either because, owing to their intrinsic nature, they 
are always endeavouring to reach the highest place, or else 
because lighter bodies are naturally repelled by heavier; and 
as this is notoriously the case, it must evidently follow, that 
souls, when once they have departed from the body, whether 
they are animal, (by which term I mean ca})able of breathing,) 
or of the nature of fire, must mount upwards : but if the soul 
is some number, as some people assert, speaking with more 
subtlety than clearness, or if it is that fifth nature, for which 
it would be more correct to say that we have not given a 
name to, than that we do not correctly understand it — still it 
is too pure and perfect, not to go to a great distance from 
the earth. Something of this sort, then, we must believe the 
soul to be, that we may not commit the folly of thinking that 
so active a principle lies immerged in the heart or brain; or, 
as Empedocles would have it, in the blood. 

XVIII. We will pass over Dicsearchus,' with his contem- 
porary and fellow-disciple Aristoxenus,"' both indeed men of 

' Dieaearchus was a native of Messana, in Sicily, though he lived 
chiefly in Greece ; he was one of the later dit^ciples of Aristotle. He 
was a great geographer, politician, historian, and philosopher, and died 
about B.C. 285. 

' Aristo.xenus was a native of Tarentum, and also a pupil of Aristotle. 
We know notiiing of his opinions except that he held the soul to be a 
harmony of the body; a doctrine which had been already di.'jcussed by 


learning. One of them seems never even to have leen affected 
with grief, as he could not perceive that he had a soul ; while 
the other is so pleased with his musical compositions, that he 
endeavours to show an analogy betwixt them and souls. Now, 
we may understand harmony to arise from the intervals of 
sounds, whose various compositions occasion many harmonies; 
but I do not see how a disposition of members, and the figiu-e 
of a body without a soul, can occasion harmony; he had 
better, learned as he is, leave these speculations to his master 
Aristotle, and follow his own trade, as a musician; good 
advice is given him in that Greek proverb, — 

Apply your talents where you best are skill'd. 
I will have nothing at all to do with that fortuitous concouree 
of individual light and round bodies, notwithstanding Demo- 
critus insists on their being warm, and having breath, that is 
to say, life. But this soul, which is compounded of either of 
the four principles from which we assert that all things are 
derived, is of inflamed air, as seems particularly to have been 
the opinion of Pansetius, and must necessarily mount up- 
wards; for air and fire have no tendency downwards, but 
always ascend ; so should they be dissipated, that must be at 
some distance from the earth; but should they remain, and 
preserve their original state, it is clearer still that they must 
be carried heavenward ; and this gross and concrete air, which 
is nearest the earth, must be divided and broken by them ; 
for the so\il is warmer, or rather hotter than that air, which 
I just now called gi'oss and concrete; and this may be made 
evident from this consideration, - that our bodies, being com- 
pounded of the earthy class of principles, grow warm by the 
heat of the soul. 

XIX. We may add, that the soul can the more easily 
escape from this air, which I have often named, and break 
through it ; because nothing is swifter than the soul ; no 
swiftness is comparable to the swiftness of the soul; which, 
should it remain uncorrupt and without alteration, must 
necessarily be carried on with such velocity as to penetrate 

Plato in the Phsedo, and combated by Aristotle. He was a great musi- 
cian, and the chief portions of his works which have come doAvn to us 
are fragments of some musical treatises. — Smith's Diet. Qr. and Rom. 
Biog., to which source I must acknowledge my obligation foi nearly l,ha 
s;hole of these biographical notes. 


and divide all this atmosphere, where clouds, and rain, and 
winds are formed; which, in consequence of the exhalations 
from the earth, is moist and dark; but, when the soul has 
once got above this region, and falls in with, and recognises a 
nature like its own, it then rests upon fires composed of a 
coml)i nation of thin air and a moderate solar heat, and does 
not aim at any higher flight. For then, after it has attained 
a lightness and heat resembling its own, it moves no more, 
but remains steady, being balanced, as it were, between two 
equal weights. That, then, is its natural seat where it has 
penetrated to something like itself; and where, wanting 
nothing further, it may be sujjported and maintained by the 
same aliment which nourishes and maintains the stars. 

Now, as we ai'e usually incited to all sorts of desires by 
the stimulus of the body, and the more so, as we endeavour 
to rival those who are in possession of what we long for, w^q 
shall certainly be happy when, being emancipated from that 
body, we at the same time get rid of these desires and this 
rivalry : and, that whicb we do at present, when, dismissing all 
other cares, we curiously examine and look into anything, we 
shall then do with greater freedom; and we shall employ 
ourselves entirely in the contemplation and examination of 
things; because thei'e is naturally in our minds a certain 
insatiable desire to know the truth ; and the very region 
itself where we shall arrive, as it gives us a more intuitive 
and easy knowledge of celestial things, will raise our desires 
after knowledge. For it was tiiis beauty of the heavens, as 
seen even here upon earth, which gave bii'th to that national 
and hei-editary philosophy, (as Theophrastus calls it,) which 
was thus excited to a desire of knowledge. But those persons 
will in a most especial degree enjoy this philosopiiy, who, 
while they were only inhabitants of this world and enveloped 
in darkness, were still desirous of looking into these things 
with the eye of their mind. 

XX. For, if those men now think that they have attained 
something who have seen the mouth of the Pontus, and 
those straits which were passed by the ship called Argo 

From Argos slie did chosen men convey. 

Bound to fetch back the golden fleece, their prey ; 

or those who have seen the straits of the ocean. 



Where the swift waves divide the neighbouring shores 
Of Europe, and of Afric. 

What kind of sight do you imagine that will be, when the 
whole earth is laid open to our view? and that, too, not cnJy 
in its position, form, and boundaries, nor those parts of it only 
which are habitable, but those also that lie uncultivated, through 
the extremities of heat and cold to which they are exposed ; 
for not even now is it with our eyes that we view what we 
see, for the body itself has no senses ; but (as the naturalists, 
aye, and even the physicians assure us, who have opened oui 
bodies, and examined them), there are certain perforated 
channels from the seat of the soul to the eyes, ears, and nose ; 
so that frequently, when either prevented by meditation, or 
the force of some bodily disorder, we neither hear nor see, 
though our eyes and ears are open, and in good condition ; so 
that we may easily apprehend that it is the soul itself which 
sees and hears, and not those parts which are, as it were, but 
windows to the soul ; by means of which, however, she can 
perceive nothing, unless she is on the spot, and exerts herself. 
How shall we account for the fact, that by the same power of 
thinking we comprehend the most different things; as colour, 
*iiste, heat, smell, and sound] which the soul could never 
know by her five messengers, unless everything was referred 
to her, and she were the sole judge of all. And we sliall 
certainly discover these things in a more clear and perfect 
degree when the soul is disengaged from the body, and has 
arrived at that goal to which nature leads her ; for at present, 
notwithstanding nature has contrived, with the greatest skill, 
those channels which lead from the body to the soul, yet are 
they, in some way or otlier, stopped up with earthy and 
concrete bodies ; but when we shall be nothing but soul, then 
nothing will mterfere to prevent our seeing everything in its 
real substance, and in its true character. 

XXI. It is true, I might expatiate, did the subject require 
it, on the many and various objects with which tiie soul will 
be entertained in those heavenly regions ; when I reflect on 
which, I am apt to wonder at the boldness of some philoso- 
phers, who are so struck w^th admiration at the knowledge of 
nature, as to thank, in an exulting manner, the first inventor 
and teacher of natural philosophy, and to reverence him as a 
God ■ for they declare that they have been delivered by bi& 



meana from tlie srreatest tyrants, a perpetual terror, and a 
fear that molested them by night and day. What is this 
dread- this fear 1 what old woman is there so weak as to fear 
these things, which you, forsooth, had you not been acquainted 
with natural philosophy, would stand in awe of? 

The hallow'd roofs of Acheron, the dread 
Of Orcus, the pale regions of the dead. 

And does it become a philosopher to boast that he is not 
afraid of these things, and that he has discovered them to be 
false 1 And from this we may perceive how aciite these men 
were by nature, who, if they had been left without any 
instruction would have believed in these things. But now 
they have certainly made a very fine acquisition in learning 
that when the day of their death arrives they will perish 
entirely ; and, if that really is the case, for I say nothing 
either way, what is there agreeable or glonous in it ? Not 
that I see any reason why ttie opinion of Pythagoras and 
Plato may not be true : but even although Plato were to 
have assigned no reason for his opinion (observe how much I 
esteem the man), the weight of his authority would have 
borne me down ; but he has brought so many reasons, that 
he appears to me to have endeavoured to convince others, 
and certainly to have convinced himself 

XXII. But there are many who labour on the other side of 
the question, and condemn souls to death, as if they w^ere 
criminals capitally convicted ; nor have they any other 
reason to allege why the immortality of the soul appears to 
them to be incredible, except that they are not able to 
conceive what sort of thing the soul can be when disentangled 
from the body; just as if they could really form a correct 
idea as to what sort of thing it is, even when it is in the 
body ; what its form, and size, and abode are ; so that were 
they able to have a full view of all that is now hidden from 
thcim in a living body, they have no idea whether the soul 
would be discernible by them, or whether it is of so fine a 
texture that it would escape their sight. Let those consider 
this, who say that they are unable to form any idea of the 
Buul without the body, and then they will see whether they 
can form any adequate idea of what it is when it is in the 
body. For my own part, when I reflect on the nature of the 


soul, it appears to me a far more perplexing and obscure 
question to determine what is its character while it is in the 
body, a place which, as it were, does not belong to it, than to 
imagine what it is when it leaves it, and has arrived at the free 
Eether, which is, if I may so say, its proper, its own habitation. 
For unless we are to say that we cannot apprehend the 
character or nature of anything which we have never seen, 
we certainly may be able to form some notion of God. and of 
the divine soul when released from the body. Dictearchus, 
indeed, and Aristoxenus, because it was hard to understand 
the existence, and substance, and nature of the soul, asserted 
that there was no such thing as a soul at all. It is, indeed, the 
most difficult thing imaginable, to discern the soul by the 
soul. And this, doubtless, is the meaning of the precept of 
Apollo, which advises every one to know himself For I do 
not apprehend the meaning of the god to have been, that we 
should understand our members, our stature, and form ; for 
we are not merely bodies ; nor, when I say these things to 
you, am I addressing myself to your body : when, therefore, 
he says, " Know yourself." he says this, " Inform yourself of 
the nature of your soul ; " for the body is but a kind of 
vessel, or receptacle of the soul, and whatever your soul does 
is your own act. To know the soul, then, unless it had been 
divine, would not have been a precept of such excellent 
wisdom, as to be attributed to a god ; but even though the 
soul should not know of what nature itself is, will you say 
that it does not even perceive that it exists at all, or that it 
has motion 1 on which is founded that reason of Plato's, which 
is explained l»y Socrates in the Phsedrus, and inserted by me, 
in my sixth book of tlie Republic. 

XXIII. "That which is always moved is eternal; but 
that which gives motion to something else, and is moved 
itself by some extei-nal cause, when that motion ceases, must 
necessarily cease to exist. That, therefore, alone, which is 
self-moved, because it is never forsaken by itself can never 
cease to be moved. Besides, it is the beginning and principle 
of motion to everything else ; but whatever is a principle haa 
no beginning, for all things arise from that principle, and it 
cannot itself owe its rise to anything else ; for then it wouid 
not be a principle did it proceed from anything else. But if 
it has no beginning, it never will have any end; for a principle 



which is ouce extinguished, cannot itself be restored by 
anything else, nor can it produce anj-thing else from itself; 
inasmuch as all things must necessarily arise fi'om some first 
cause. And thus it comes about, that the first principle of 
motion must arise from that thing which is itself moved by 
itself; and that can neither have a beginning nor an end of 
its existence, for otherwise the whole heaven and earth would 
be overset, and all nature would stand still, and not be able to 
acquire any force, by the impulse of which it might be first 
set in motion. Seeing, then, that it is clear, that whatever 
moves itself is eternal, can there be any doubt that the soul 
is so ? For everything is inanimate which is moved by an 
external force ; but everything wliich is animate is moved by 
an interior force, which also belongs to itself For this is the 
peculiar nature and power of the soul ; and if the soul be the 
mly thing in the whole world which has the power of self- 
motion, then certainly it never had a beginning, and therefore 
it is eternal." 

Now, should all the lower order of philosophers, (for so I 
think they may be called, who dissent from Plato and 
Socrates and that school,) unite their force, tliey never would 
be able to explain anytliiiig so elegantly as this, nor even to 
understand how ingeniously this conclusion is drawn. The 
Boul, then, perceives itself to have motion, and at the same 
time that it gets that perception, it is sensible that it derives 
that motion from its own power, and not from the agency of 
another; and it is impossible that it should ever forsake 
itself ; and these premises compel you to allow its eternity, 
unless you have something to say against them. 

A. I should myself be very well pleased not to have even 
a thought arise in my mind against them, so much am I 
inclined to that opinion. 

XXIV. J/. Well then, I appeal to you, if the arguments 
which prove that there is something divine in the souls of 
men are not equally strong ? but if I could account for the 
origin of these divine properties, then I might also be able to 
explain how they might cease to exist ; for I think I can 
account for the manner in which the blood, and bile, and 
phlegm, and bones, and nerves, and veins, and all the limbs, 
and the shape of the whole body, were put together and 
caade ; aye, and even as to the soul itself, were there nothing 


more in it than a principle of life, then the life of a man might 
be put upon the same footing as that of a vine or any other 
tree, and accounted for as caused by nature ; for these things, 
as we siiy, live. Besides, if desires and aversions were all that 
belonged to the soul, it would have them only in common 
with the beasts ; but it has, in the first place, memory, and 
that, too, so infinite, as to recollect an absolute countless 
number of circumstances, which Plato will have to be a recol- 
lection of a former life ; for in that book which is inscribed 
Menon, Socrates asks a child some questions in geometry, 
with reference to measuring a square ; his answers are such 
as a child would make, and yet the questions are so easy, that 
while answering them, one by one, he comes to the same 
point as if he had learned geometry. Frura whence Socrates 
would infer, that learning is nothing more than recollection ; 
and this topic he explains more accurately, in the discourse 
which he held the very day he died ; for he there asserts that 
any one who seeming to be entirely illiterate, is yet able to 
answer a question well that is proposed to him, does in so doing 
manifestly sliow that he is not learning it then, but recollect- 
ing it by his memory. Nor is it to be accounted for in any 
other way, how children come to have notions of so many and 
such important things, as are implanted, and as it were sealed 
up in their minds, (which the Greeks call a/votat,) unless the 
soul before it entered the body had been well stored with 
knowledge. And as it had no existence at all, (for this is the 
invariable doctrine of Plato, who will not admit anything to 
have a real existence which has a beginning and an end, and 
who thinks that that alone does really exist which is of such 
a character as what he calls ei'Sea, and we species,) therefore, 
being shut up in the body, it could not while in the body 
discover what it knows : but it knew it before, and brought 
the knowledge with it, so that we ai-e no longer surprised at 
its extensive and mxiltifarious knowledge : nor does the soid 
clearly discover its ideas at its first resort to this abode to 
which it is so unaccustomed, and which is in so disturbed a 
state; but after having refreshed and recollected itself, it 
then by its memory recovers them ; and, therefore, to learn 
implies nothing more than to recollect. But I am in a par 
ticular manner surprised at memory; for what is that fe,culty 
by which we remember ? what is its force ? what ita nature I 


I am not inuuiring how gi-eat a memory Simonides* may be 
said to have had, or Theodectes,'"' or that Ciueas,' who waa 
sent to Rome as ambassador from Pyrrhus, or in more modem 
times Charmadas ; ' or very lately, Metrodorus,^ the Scepsian, 
or our own contem])orary Hortensius :'' I am speaking of ordi- 
nary memory, and especially of those men whc are employed 
in any important study or art, the great capacity of whose 
minds it is hard to estimate, such numbers of things do they 

XXV. Should you ask what this leads to, I think -we may 
understand what tliat power is, and whence we have it. It 
certainly proceeds neither from the heart, nor from the blood, 
nor from the brain, nor from atoms; whether it be air or 
fire, I know not, nor am I, as those men are, ashamed in cases 
where I am ignorant, to own that I am so. If in any other 
obscure matter I were able to assert anything positively, then 
I would swear that the soul, be it air or fire, is divine. Just 
think, I beseech you, — can you imagine this wonderful power 
of memory to be sown in, or to be a part of the composition 

' The Simonides here meant, is the celebrated poet of Ceos, the per- 
fecter of Elegiac poetry among the Greeks. He flourished about the 
time of the Persian war. Besides his poetry, he is said to have been 
the inventor of sume method of aiding the memory. He died at the 
court of Hiero, b.c. 467. 

^ Theodcctes was a native of Phaselis, in Pamphylia, a distinguished 
rhetorician and tragic poet, and flourished in the time of Philip of 
Macedon. He was a pupil of Isocrates, and lived at Athens, and died 
there at the age of 41. 

^ Cineas was a Thessalian, and (as is said in the text) came to Eome 
as ambassador from Pyrrhus after the battle of Heraclea, b.c. 280, and 
his memory is said to have been so great that on the day after his 
arrival he was able to address all the senators and knights by name. 
He probably died l)efore Pyrrhus returned to Italy, B.C. 276. 

* Charmadas, called also Charmides, was a fellow pupil with Philo, 
the Larissaeau of Clitomachus, the Carthaginian. He is said by some 
authors to have founded a fourth academy. 

* Metrodorus was a minister of Mithridates the Great; and employed 
by him aq supreme judge in Pontus, and afterwards as an ambassador. 
Cicero speaks of him in other places (De Orat. ii. 88) as a man of won- 
derful memory. 

* Quintus Hortensius was eight years older than Cicero; and, till 
Cicero's fame surpassed his, he was accounted the most eloquent of all 
the Romans. He was Verres's counsel in the prosecution conducted 
against him by Cicero. Seneca relates that his memory was so great 
that he could come out of an auction and repeat the catalogue ba't 
wards. He died b.o. 50. 


of the earth, or of this dark and gloomy atmosphere ? Though 
you cannot apprehend what it is, yet you see what kind of 
thing it is, or if you do not quite see that, yet you certainly 
see how gi-eat it is. What then? shall we imagine that there 
IS a kind of measure in the soul, into which, as into a vessel, 
all that we remember is poured 1 that indeed is absurd ; for 
how shall we form any idea of the bottom, or of the shape or 
fashion of such a soul as that? and again how are we to con- 
ceive how much it is able to contain? Shall we imagine the 
soul to receive impressions like wax, and memor}' to be marks 
of the impressions made on tlie soul? What are the charac- 
tei'S of the words, what of the facts themselves? and what 
again is that prodigious greatness which can give rise to im- 
pressions of so many things? What, kistly, is that power 
which investigates secret things, and is called invention and 
contrivance? Does that man seem to be C(jmpounded of this 
earthly, mortal, and perishing nature, who first invented 
names for everything, which, if you w'ill believe Pythagoras, 
is the highest pitch of wisdom ? or he, who collected the dis- 
persed inhabitants of the world, and united them in the 
bonds of social life? or he, who confined the sounds of the 
voice, which used to seem infinite, to the mai'ks of a few 
letters? or he who first observed the courses of the planets, 
their progressive motions, their laws ? These were all great 
men ; but they were greater still, who invented food, and 
raiment, and houses ; who introduced civilization amongst us, 
and armed us against the wild beasts; by whom we were 
made sociable and polished, and so proceeded from the 
necessaries of life to its embellishments. For we have pro- 
vided great entertamments for the ears, by inventing and 
modulating the variety and nature of sounds ; we have learnt 
to survey the stars, not only those that are fixed, but also 
those which are improperly called wandering; and the man 
who has acquainted himself with all their I'evolutions and 
motions, is fiiirly considered to have a soul resembling the 
soul of that Being who has created those stars in the heavens : 
for when Archimedes described in a sphere the motions of 
tlie moon, sun, and five planets, he did the very same thinsi 
as Plato's God, in his Tima^us, who made the world; causing 
one revolution to adjust motions differing as much as possible 
in their slowness and velocity. Now, allowing that what wc 


see in tlie world could not be effected without a God, Archi- 
medes could not have imitated the same motions in his sphere 
without a divine soul. 

XXVI. To me, indeed, it appears that even those studies 
which are more common and in greater esteem are not with- 
out some divine energy : so that I do not consider that a 
poet can produce a serious and sublime poem, without some 
divine impulse working on his mind; nor do I think that 
eloquence, abounding with sonorous words and fruitful sen- 
tences, can flow thus, without something beyond mere human 
power. But as to philosophy, that is the parent of all the 
arts, what can we call that but, as Plato says, a gift, or as I 
express it, an invention of the Gods t This it was which first 
taught us the worship of the Gods ; and then led us on to 
justice, which arises from the human race lieing formed into 
society : and after that it imbued us with modesty, and 
elevation of soul. This it was which dispersed darkness 
from our souls, as it is dispelled from our eyes, enabling us 
to see all things that are above or below, the beginning, end, 
and middle of every tiling. I am convinced entirely, that 
th:it which could effect so many and such gi-eat things must 
be a divine power. For what is memory of words and circum- 
stances 1 what, too, is invention ? Surely they are things than 
which nothing greater can be conceived in a God ! for I 
io not imagine the Gods to be delighted with nectar and 
ambrosia, or with Juventas presenting them with a cup ; nor 
do I put any faith in Homer, who says that Ganymede was 
carried away by the Gods, on account of his beauty, in order 
to give Jupiter his wine. Too weak reasons for doing 
Laomedon such injury ! These were mere inventions of 
Homer, who gave his Gods the imperfections of men. I 
would rather that he had given men the perfections of the 
Gods ! those perfections, I mean, of uninten-upted health, 
wisdom, invention, memory. Therefore the soul (which is, 
as I say, divine,) is, as Euripides more boldly expresses it, a 
God. And thus, if the divinity be air or fire, the soid of 
man is the same : for as that celestial nature has nothing 
earthly or humid about it, in like manner the soul of man is 
also free from both these qualities : but if it is of that fifth 
kind of nature, fii-st introduced by Aristotle, then both Goiis 
and souls are of the same. 


XXVII. As this is my opinion, I have explained it iu 
these very words, in my hook on Consolation.' The origin of 
the soul of man is not to be found upon earth, for there is 
nothing in the soul of a mixed or concrete nature, or that has 
any appearance of being formed or made out of the earth ; 
notiiing even humid, or airy, or fiery : for what is there in 
natures of that kind which has the power of memory, under- 
standing, or thought ■? which can recollect the past] foresee 
the future; and comprehend the present? for these capabili- 
ties are confined to divine beings ; nor can we discover any 
source from which men could derive them, but from God. 
There is therefore a peculiar nature and power in the soul, 
distinct from those natures which are more known and 
familiar to us. Whatever, then, that is which thinks, and 
which has understanding, and volition, and a principle of life, 
is heavenly and divine, and on that account must necessarily 
be eternal : nor can God himself, who is known to us, be 
conceived to be anything else except a soul free and unem- 
barrassed, distinct from all mortal concretion, acquainted with 
everything, and giving motion to everything, and itself 
endued with perpetual motion. 

XXVIII. Of this kind and nature is the intellect of man. 
Where, then, is this intellect seated, and of what character is 
it 1 where is your own, and what is its character 1 are you 
able to tein If I have not faculties for knowing all that I 
could desire to know, will you not even allow me to make use 
of those wliich I have? The soul has not sufficient capacity 
to comprehend itself; yet, the soul, like the eye, though it 
has no distinct view of itself, sees other things : it does not 
see (which is of least consequence) its own shape; perhaps 
not, though it possibly may ; but we will pass that by : but 
it certainly sees that it has vigour, sagacity, memory, motion, 
and velocity; these are all great, divine, eternal properties. 
What its appearance is, or where it dwells, it is not necessary 
even to inquire. As when we behold, first of all, the beauty 
and brilliant appearance of the heavens ; secondly, the vast 
velocity of its revolutions, beyond power of our imagination 
to conceive; then the vicissitudes of nights and days; the 

' This treatise is one whirh has not come down to us, but which had 
been lately composed by Cicero in order to comfort himself for the 
loss of his daughter. 


four-fold division of the seasons, so well adapted to the ripen- 
ing of tlie fruits of the earth, and the temperature of our 
bodies; and after that we look up to the sun, the moderator 
and governor of all these things; and view the moon, by the 
increase and decrease of its light, marking, as it were, and 
appointing our holy days ; and see the hvo planets, borne on 
in the same circle, divided into twelve parts, preserving the 
same course with the greatest regularity, but with utterly 
dissimilar motions amongst themselves ; and the nightly 
appearance of the heaven, adorned on all sides with stars; 
then, the globe of the earth, raised above the sea, and placed 
in the centre of the universe, inhabited and cultivated in ita 
two opposite extremities; one of which, the place of our 
habitation, is situated towards the north pole, under the 
seven stars : — 

Where the cold northern blast^^, with horrid sound, 

Harden to ice the snowy cover'd ground, — 

the other, towards the south pole, is unknown to us ; but is 
called by the Greeks avrix^dova : the other parts are unculti- 
vated, because they are either frozen with cold, or burnt up 
with heat ; but where we dwell, it never fails in its season^ 

To yield a placid sky, to bid the trees 

Assume the lively verdure of their leaves : 

The vine to bud, and, joyful in its shoots, 

Foretell the approaching vintage of its fruits: 

The ripen'd corn to sing, whilst all around 

Full riv'lets glide ; and flowers deck the ground: — 

then the multitude of cattle, fit part for food, part for tilling 
the ground, others for carrying us, or for clothing us; and 
man himself, made as it were on purpose to contemplate the 
heavens and the Gods, and to pay adoration to them ; lastly, 
the whole earth, and wide extending seas, given to man's use. 
When we view these, and numberless other things, can we 
doubt that they have some being who presides over them, or 
has made them (if, indeed, they have been made, as is the 
opinion of Plato, or if, as Aristotle thinks, they are eternal), 
or who at all events is the regulator of so immense a 
fabric and so great a blessing to men '? Thus, though you see 
not the soul of man, as you see not the Deity, yet, as by the 
contemplation of his works you are led to acknowledge a God, 
BO you must own the divine power of the soul, from its 


rememDering things, from its invention, from the qnicKneRSof 
its motion, and from all the beauty of virtue. Where, then, is 
it seated, you will say? 

XXIX. In my opinion it is seated in the head, and I can 
bring you reasons for my adopting that opinion. At present, 
let the soul reside where it will, you certainly have one in 
you. Should you ask what its nature is? It has one pecu- 
liarly its own ; but admitting it to consist of fire, or air, it 
does not affect the present question ; only observe this, that 
as you are convinced there is a God, though you are ignorant 
where he resides, and what shape he is of ; in like manner you 
ought to feel assured that you have a soul, though you cannot 
satisfy yourself of the place of its residence, nor its form. In 
cm- knowledge of the soul, unless we are gi'ossly ignorant of 
natural philosophy, we cannot but be satisfied that it has 
nothing but what is simple, unmixed, uncompounded, and 
single ; and if this is admitted, then it cannot be separated, nor 
divided, nor dispersed, nor parted, and thei'efore it cannot 
perish; for to perish implies a parting asunder, a division, a 
disvmion of those parts which, whilst it subsisted, were held 
together by some band ; and it was because he was influenced 
by these and similar reasons that Socrates neither looked out 
for anybody to plead for him when he was accused, nor 
begged any favoiu' from his judges, but maintained a manly 
freedom, which was the effect not of pride, but of the true 
greatness of his soul : and on the last day of his life, he held 
a long discourse on tliis subject; and a few days before, when 
he might have been easily freed from his confinement, he 
refused to be so, and when he had almost actually hold of 
that deadly cup, he spoke with the air of a man not forced to 
die, but ascending into heaven. 

XXX. For so indeed he thought himself, and thus he 
spoke : — " That thei'e were two ways, and that the souls of 
men, at their departure from the body, took different roads, 
for those which were polluted with vices, that are common to 
men, and which had given themselves up entirely to unclean 
desires, and had become so blinded by them as to have 
habituated themselves to all manner of debauchery and 
pi'ofligacy, or to have laid detestable schemes for the ruin 
of their countiy, took a road wide of that which led to the 
assembly of the Oods : but they who had preserved themselves 


upright and chaste, and free from the slightest contagion 
of tlie body, and had always kept themselves as far as possible 
at a distance from it, and wliilst on earth, had proposed to 
themselves as a model the life of the Gods, found the return 
to those beings from whom they had come an easy one." 
Therefore he argues, that all good and wise men should take 
example from the swans, who are considered sacred to Apollo, 
not without reason, but particularly because they seem to 
have received the gift of divination from him, by which, fore- 
seeing how happy it is to die, they leave this world with 
singing and joy. Nor can any one doiibt of this, unless it 
happens to us who think with care and anxiety about the 
soul, (as is often the case with those who look earnestly at the 
setting sun,) to lose the sight of it entirely : and so the mind's 
eye viewing itself, sometimes grows dull, and for that reason 
we become remiss in our contemplation. Thus our reasoning is 
borne about, harassed with doubts and anxieties, not knowing 
how to proceed, but measuring back again those dangerous 
tracts which it has passed, like a boat tossed about on tho 
boundless ocean. But these reflections are of long standing, 
and borrowed from the Greeks. But Cato left this world in 
such a manner, as if he wei'e delighted that he had found an 
opportunity of dying; for that God who presides in us, for- 
bids our departure hence without his leave. But when God 
himself has given us a just cause, as formerly he did to Socrates, 
and lately to Cato, and often to many others, - in such a case, 
certainly every man of sense would gladly exchange this 
darkness, for that light: not that he would forcibly break 
from the chains that held him, for that would be against 
the law ; but like a man released from prison by a magistrate, 
or some lawful authority, so he too would walk away, being 
released and discharged by God. For the whole life of a 
philosopher is, as the same philosopher says, a meditation on 

XXXI. For what else is it that we do, when we call off our 
minds from pleasure, that is to say, from our attention to 
the body, from the managing our domestic estate, which is a 
sort of handmaid and servant of the body, or from duties of a 
pulilic nature, or from all other serious business whatever] 
What else is it, I say, that we do, but invite the soul to reflect 
on itself] oblige it to converse with itself, and^ as far as pDS- 


sible, break off its acquaintance with the body? Now to sepa- 
rate the soul from the body, is to learn to die, and nothing 
else whatever. Wherefore take my advice ; and let us medi- 
tate on this, and separate ourselves as far as possible from 
the body, that is to say, let us accustom ourselves to die. 
This will be enjoying a life like that of heaven even while we 
remain on earth ; and when we are carried thither and re- 
leased from these bonds, our souls will make their progress with 
more rapidity : for the spirit which has always been fettered 
by the bonds of the body, even when it is disengaged, ad- 
vances more slowly, just as those do wlio have worn actual 
fetters for many years : but when we have arrived at this 
emancipation from the bonds of the body, then indeed we 
shaU begin to live, for this present life is really death, which 
\ could say a good deal in lamentation for if I chose. 

A. You have lamented it sufficiently in your book on Con- 
solation ; and when I read that, there is nothing which I 
desire more than to leave these tilings: but that desire is 
increased a great deal by what I have just heai-d. 

M. The time will come, and that soon, and with equal 
ceitainty whether you hang back or press forward; for time 
flies. But death is so far from being an evil, as it lately 
appeared to you, that I am inclined to suspect, not that there 
is no other thing which is an evil to man, but rather that 
there is nothing else which is a real good to him ; if, at least, 
it is true, that we become thereby either Gods ourselves, or 
companions of the Gods. However, this is not of so much 
consequence, as there are some of us here who will not allow 
this. But I will not leave off" discussing this point till I have 
convinced you that death can, upon no consideration what- 
ever, be an evil. 

A. How can it, after what I now know? 

M. Du you ask how it can? There are crowds of arguers 
who contradict this; and those not only Epicureans, whom 
I regard very little, but, some how or other, almost every 
man of letters; and, above all, my favourite Dica:archus 
is very strenuous in opposing the immortality of the soul : 
for he has written three books, which are entitled Les- 
biacs, because the discourse was held at Mitylene, in which 
he seeks to prove that souls are mortal. Tiie Stoics, on the 
other hand, allow us as long a time for enjoyment as the Ufa 


of a raven ; they allow the soul to exist a great while, bat are 
against its eternity. 

XXXII. Are you willing to hear then why, even allowing 
this, death cannot be an evil. 

A. As you please; but no one ehall drive me from my 
belief in mortality. 

M. I commend you indeed, for that; though we should 
not be too confident in our belief of anything ; for we are 
frequently disturbed by some subtle conclusion ; we give way 
and change our opinions even in things tliat are more evi- 
dent than this ; for in tliis there certainly is some obscurity. 
Therefore, should anytliing of this kind happen, it is well to 
be on our guard. 

A. You are right in tliat, but I will provide against any 

M. Have you any objection to our dismissing our friends 
the Stoics'? those, I mean, who allow that the souls exist after 
they have left the body, but yet deny that they exist for ever. 

A. We certainly may dismiss the considei-ation of those 
men who admit that which is the most difficult point in the 
whole question, namely, that a soul can exist independently 
of the body, and yet refuse to grant that, whicli is not only 
very easy to believe, but which is even the natural consequence 
of the concession which they have made, that if they can exist 
for a length of time, they most likely do so for ever. 

M. You take it right; that is the very thing: shall we 
give, therefore, any credit to Panajtius, when he dissents from 
liis master, Plato? whom he everywhere calls divine, the 
wisest, the holiest of men, the Homer of philosophers; and 
whom he op])Oses in nothing except this single opinion of the 
soul's immortality : for he maintains what nobody denies, 
that everything which has been generated will perish ; and 
tliat even souls are generated, which he thinks appears from 
their resemblance to those of the men who begot them ; for 
that likeness is as apparent in the turn of their minds as in 
their bodies. But he brings another reason; that there is 
nothing which is sensible of pain which is not also liable t-o 
disease ; but whatever is liable to disease must be liable to 
death ; the soul is sensible of pain, therefore it is liabla 
to pei-ish. 

XXXIII. These arguments may be refuted; for they pro- 


ceed from his not knowing that while discussing the subject 
of the immortality of the soul, he is speaking of the intellect, 
which is free from all turbid motion; but not of those parts of 
the mind in which those disorders, anger and lust, have their 
Beat, and which he whom he is opposing, when he argues 
thus, imagines to be distinct and separate from the mind. 
Now this resemblance is more remarkable in beasts, whose 
souls are void of reason. But the likeness in men consists 
more in the configuration of the bodies; and it is of no little 
consequence in what bodies the soul is lodged ; for there are 
many things which depend on the body that give an edge to 
the soul, many which blunt it. Aristotle indeed, says, that 
all men of great genius are melancholy; so that I should not 
have been displeased to have been somewhat duller than 1 
am. He instances many, and, as if it were matter of fact, 
brings his reasons for it : but if the power of those things 
that proceed from the body be so great as to influence the 
mind, (for they are the things, whatever they are, that occa- 
sion this likeness,) still that does not necessarily prove why 
a similitude of souls should be generated. I say nothing 
about cases of unlikeness. I wish Pansctius could be here; 
he lived with Africanus; I would inquire of him which of 
his family the nephew of Africanus's brother was like 1 Pos- 
sibly he may in person have resembled his father ; but in hia 
manners, he was so like every profligate abandoned man, 
that it was impossible to be more so. V/ho did the grandson 
of P. Crassus, that wise, and eloquent, and most distin- 
guished man resemble? Or the relations and sons of many 
other excellent men, whose names there is no occasion to men- 
tion 1 But what are we doing 1 Have we forgotten that our 
purpose was, when we had sufficiently spoken on the subject 
of the immortality of the soul, to prove that, even if the soul 
did perish, there would be, even then, no evil in death 1 

A. I remembered it very well ; but I had no dislike to 
your digi'essing a little from your original design, whilst you 
were talking of the soul's immortality. 

M. I perceive you have sublime thoughts, and are eager 
to mount up to heaven. 

XXXIV. I am not without hopes myself tliat such may be 
our fate. Bnt admit what they assert; that the soul dies 
uot continue to exist after death 


A. Sliould it be so, I see that we are then deprived of tLe 
hopes of a happier life. 

M. But what is there of evil in that opinion? For let the 
soul perish as the body: is there any pain, or indeed any 
feeling at all in the body after death ? No one, indeed, asserts 
that ; tliough Epicurus charges Democritus with saying so ; 
but the disciples of Democritub deny it. No sense, therefore, 
remains in the soul; for the soul is nowhere; where, then, 
is the evil 1 for there is nothing but these two things. Is it 
because tlie mere separation of the soul and body cannot be 
effected without paini but even should that be granted, how 
small a pain must that be ! Yet I think that it is false ; and 
that it is very often unaccompanied by any sensation at all, 
and sometimes even attended with pleasure : but certainly the 
whole must be very trifling, whatever it is, for it is instan- 
taneous. What makes us uneasy, or rather gives us pain, is 
the leaving all the good things of life. But just consider, if 
T might not more properly say, leaving the evils of life ; only 
there is no reason for my now occupying myself in bewailing 
the life of man, and yet I might, with very good reason ; but 
what occasion is there, when what I am labouring to prove is 
that no one is miserable after death, to make life more mise- 
rable by lamenting over it? I have done that in the book 
which I wrote, in order to comfort myself as well as I could. 
If, then, our inquiry is after truth, death withdraws us from 
evil, not from good. This subject is indeed so copiously 
handled by Hegesias, the Cyrenaic philosopher, that he is 
said to have been forbid by Ptolemy from delivering his lec- 
tures in the schools, because some who heard him made 
away with themselves. There is too, an epigram of Calli- 
machus,' on Cleombrotus of Ambracia; who, without any 
misfortune having befallen him, as he says, threw himself 

* The epigram is— 

Ei!'7ra$"HAje x^'P^- KXe6,u0poros''CliJ.0paKiJ)Tr]s 

T^Aar' a.<p' ui^tjAoC Tfix^os eh 'A'i'S-qv, 
&^iov ovSff ISwv Oai'drov KuKhv, aAAa YlXaraivos 

Which may be translated, perhaps — 

Farewell, O .sun, Cleombrotus exclaim'd, 

Then plung'd from oft" a heiglit beneath the seaj 
Stung by pain, of no disgrace ashamed, 

But mov'd by Plato's high philosophy. 


Prom a wall into the sea, after he had read a bools of Plate 'k. 
'Die book I mentioned of that Hegesias, is called 'A-n-oKap- c- 
pwv, or " A Man wlio starves himself," in which a man is 
represented as killing himself by starvation, till he is pre- 
vented by his friends, in reply to whom he reckons np all the 
miseries of human life : I might do the same, though not so 
fully as he, who thinks it not worth any man's while to live. 
I pass over others. Was it even worth my while to live, for, 
had I died before I was deprived of the comforts of my own 
family, and of the honours which I received for my public 
services, would not death have taken me from the evils of 
life, rather than from its blessings 1 

XXXV. Mention, therefore, some one, who never knew 
distress ; who never received any blow from fortune. The 
great Metellus had four distinguished sons ; but Priam had 
fifty, seventeen of which were bora to him by his lawful 
wife : Fortune had the same power over both, though she ex- 
ercised it but on one : for Metellus was laid on his funeral 
pile by a great company of sons and daughtei's, grandsons, 
and grandaughters ; but Priam fell by the hand of an 
enemy, after having fled to the altar, and having seen himself 
deprived of all his numerous progeny. Had he died before 
the death of his sons and the ruin of his kingdom, 
With all his mighty wealth elate, 
Under rich canopies of state ; 
would he then have been taken from good or from evil? It 
would indeed, at that time, have appeared that he was being 
taken away from good; yet surely, it would have turned 
out advantageous for him; nor should we have had these 
mournful verses, — 

Lo ! these all perish'd in one flaming pile ; 
The foe old Priam did of life beguile, 
And with hia blood, thy altar, Jove, defile. 
As if anything better could have happened to him at that 
time, than to lose his life in that manner; but yet, if it had 
befallen him sooner, it would have prevented all those conse- 
quences ; but even as it was it released him from any further 
uense of them. The case of our friend Pompey' was some- 
' This is alluded to by Juvenal — 

Provida Pompeio dederat Campania febres 
Optandas : sed multae urbes et publica vota 
Vicerunt. Igitur Fortuna ipsius et Urbis, 
Serratum victo caput abstulit. — Sat. x. 238. 


thing better : once, when he had been very iL at Naples, the 
Neapolitans on his recovery pnt crowns on their heads, as 
did those of Puteoli ; the people flocked from the country to 
congi'atulate him ; — it is a Grecian custom, and a foolish one; 
still it is a sign of good fortune. But the question is, had he 
died, would he have been taken from good, or from evil ? 
Certainly from evil. He would not liave been engaged in a 
Avar with his father-in-law;' he would not have taken up 
arms before he was prepared ; he would not have left his own 
house, nor fled from Italy; he would not, after the loss of his 
army, have fallen unarmed into the hands of slaves, and been 
put to death by them ; his children would not have been 
destroyed ; nor would his whole fortune have come into the 
possession of the conquerors. Did not he, then, who, if he had 
died at tliat time would have died in all his glory, owe all 
the great and terrible misfortunes into which be subsequently 
fell to the prolongation of his life at that time? 

XXXVI. These calamities are avoided by death, for even 
though tliey should never happen, there is a possibility that 
the}' may ; but it never occurs to a man, that such a disaster 
may befal him himself. Every one hopes to be as happy as 
Metellus : as if the number of the happy exceeded that of the 
miserable ; or as if there were any certainty in human affairs ; 
or again, as if there were more rational foundation for hope 
than fear. But should we grant them even this, that men are 
by death deprived of good things, would it follow that the 
dead are therefore in need of the good things of life, and 
are miserable on that account? Certainly they must neces- 
sarily say so. Can he who does not exist, be in need of any- 
thing? To be in need of, has a melancholy sound, because 
it in effect amounts to this, — he had, but he has not ; he 
regrets, he looks back iipon, he wants. Such are, I suppose, 
the distresses of one who is in need of. Is he deprived of 
eyes ? to be blind is misery. Is he destitute of children ? not 
to have tliem is misery. These considerations apply to the 
living, but tlie dead are neither in need of the blessings of 

' Pompeys second wife was Julia, the daughter of Julius Caesar ; she 
died the year before the death of Crassus. iu Parlhia. Virgil speaks of 
CveidT and Poinpey as relations, using the same expression (socer) as 
Cicero - 

Aggeribus socer Alpinis atque arce Monoec-i 

Desceadens, gener ad verbis iu-^tructus Eois.— .En. vi. 83). 


life, nor of life itself. But when I am speaking of the dead I aui 
speaking of those who have no existence. But would any 
f)iie say of us, who do exist, that we want horns or wings? 
Certainly not. Should it be asked, why not? the answer 
would be, that not to have what neither custom nor natm-e 
has fitted you for, would not imply a want of them, even 
though you were sensible that you had them not. This orgu- 
nient should be pressed over and over again, after that point 
lias once been established, which if souls are mortal there can 
be no dispute about — I mean, that the destruction of them 
by death is so entire, as to remove even the least suspicion of 
any sense remaining. "When, therefore, this point is once 
well gi-ounded and established, we must correctly define what 
the term, to want, means ; that there may be no mistake in 
the word. To want, then, signifies this ; to be without that 
which you would be glad to have : for inclination for a thing 
is implied in the word want; excepting when we use the 
word in an entirely different sense, as we do wlien we say that 
a fever is wanting to any one. For it admits of a different 
interpretation, when you are without a certain thing, and are 
sensible that you are without it, but yet can easily dispense 
with having it. " To want," then, is an expression which you 
cannot apply to the dead, nor is the mere fact of wanting 
something necessarily lamentable. The proper expression 
ought to be, " that they want a good," and that is an evil. 

But a living man does not want a good, unless he is dis- 
tressed without it ; and yet, we can easily understand how 
any man alive can be without a kingdom. But this cannot 
be predicated of you with any accuracy : it might have been 
asserted of Tarquin, when he was driven from his kingdom : 
but when such an expression is used respecting the dead it 
is absolutely unintelligible. For to want, implies to be 
sensible; but the dead are insensible; therefore the dead 
can be in no want. 

XXXVII. But what occasion is there to philosophize here, 
in a matter witli which we see that philosophy is but little 
concerned? How often have not only our generals, but 
whole armies, rushed on certain death ! but if it had been a 
thing to be feared, L. Brutus would never have fallen in fight, 
to prevent the return of that tyrant whom he had exepUed ; 
nor would Decius the father have been slain in fighting with 

Y 2 


the Latins ; noi* would his son, when engaged with the 
Etruscans, nor his grandson with Pyrrhus, have exposed them- 
selves to the enemy's darts. Spain would never have seen, in 
one campaign, the Scipius fall fighting for their country; nor 
■would the plains of Canna3 have witnessed the death of 
Paulus and Geminus ; or Venusia, that of iMarcellus : nor 
would the Latins have beheld the death of Albinus; nor the 
Lucanians, that of Gracchus. But are any of these miserable 
now? nay, they were not so even at the first moment after 
they had breathed their last : nor can any one be miserable 
after he has lost all sensation. Oh, but the mere circumstance 
of being without sensation is miserable. It might be so il 
being without sensation were the same thing as wanting it ; 
but as it is evident there can be nothing of any kind in that 
which has no existence, what can there be afflicting to that 
which can neither feel want, nor be sensible of anything? 
We might be said to have repeated this over too often, only 
that here lies all that the soul shudders at, from the fear of 
death. For whoever can clearly apprehend that which is as 
manifest as the light, that when both soul and body are con 
sumed, and there is a total destruction, then that which was 
an animal, becomes nothing ; will clearly see, that there is no 
difference between a Hippocentaur, which never had existence, 
and king Agamemnon ; and that M. Camillus is no more 
concerned about this present civil war, than I was at the sack- 
ing of Rome, when he was living. 

XXXVIII. Why, then, should Camillus be affected with 
the thoughts of these things happening three hundred and 
fifty years after his time 1 And why should I be uneasy if I 
were to expect that some nation might possess itself of this 
city, ten thousand years hence ? Because so great is our 
regard for our country, as not to be measured by our own 
feeling, but by its own actual safety. 

Death, then, which threatens us daily from a thousand 
accidents, and which, by reason of the shortness of life, can 
never be far off, does not deter a wise man from making such 
j)rovision for his country and his family, as he hopes may last 
for ever ; and from regarding posterity, of which he can never 
have any real perception, as belonging to himself. Wherefi»re 
a man may act for eternity, even though he be persuaded 
that his soul is mortal; not, indeed, fi'om a desire of glory, 


which he will be insensible of, but from a principle of virtue, 
which glorj will inevitably attend, though that is not his 
object. The process, indeed, of nature is this; that just in the 
same manner as our birth was the beginning of things with us, 
so death will be the end ; and as we were no ways concerned 
with anything before we were bom, so neither sliall we be 
after we are dead ; and in this state of things where can the 
evil be? since death has no connexion with either the ixviug 
or the dead ; the one have no existence at all, the other are 
not yet affected by it. They who make the least of death 
consider it as having a great resemblance to sleep ; as if any 
one would choose to live ninety years on condition that, at 
the expiration of sixty, he should sleep out the remainder. 
The very swine would not accept of life on those terms, much 
less I : Endymion, indeed, if you listen to fables, slept once 
on a time, on Latmus, a mountain of Caria, and for such a 
length of time that I imagine he is not as yet awake. Do 
you think that he is concerned at the liloon's being in diffi- 
culties, though it was by her that he was thrown into that 
sleep, in order that she might kiss him while sleeping ; for what 
should he be concerned for who has not even any sensation I 
You look on sleep as an image of death, and you take that on 
you daily ; and have j^ou, then, any doubt that there is no 
sensation in death, when you see there is none in sleep, 
which is its near resemblance ? 

XXXIX. Away, then, with those follies which are little 
better than the old women's dreams, such as that it is 
miserable to die before our time. What time do you mean ? 
That of nature 1 But she has only lent you life, as she might 
lend you money, without fixing any certain time for its re- 
l)ayment. Have you any grounds of complaint, then, that 
she recals it at her pleasure ? for you received it on these 
terms. They that complain thus, allow, that if a young child 
dies the survivors ouglit to bear his loss with equanimity, 
that if an infant in the cradle dies, they ought not even to 
utter a complaint ; and yet nature has been more severe 
with them in demanding back what she gave. They answer 
by saying, that such have not tasted the sweets of life ; while 
the other had begun to conceive hopes of great happiness, 
and indeed had begiui to realize them. Men judge better 
in other things, and allow a part to be preferable to none ; 
why do they not admit the same estiTiate in life 1 Though 


Callimachus does not speak amiss in saying, that more team 
had flowed from Priam than his son ; yet they are thouorht 
happier who die after they have reached old age. It would 
be hard to say why; for I do not apprehend that any one, 
if a longer life were granted to him, would find it happier. 
There is nothing more agreeable to a man than prudence, 
which old age most certainly bestows on a man, though it 
may strip him of everything else ; but what age is long ? or 
what is there at all long to a man 1 Does not 
Old age, though unregarded, still attend 
On childhood's pastimes, as the cares of menl 

But because there is nothing beyond old age, we call thai 
long ; all these things are said to be long or short, according 
to the proportion of time they were given us for. Aristotle 
saith, there is a kind of insect near the river Hypanis, which 
runs from a certain part of Europe into the Pontus, whose 
life consists but of one day; those that die at the eighth hour, 
die in full age ; those who die when the sun sets are very old, 
especially when the days are at the longest. Compare our 
longest life with eternity and we shall be found almost as 
short-lived as those little animals. 

XL. Let us, then, despise all these follies — for what softer 
name can I give to such levities 1 — and let us lay the foiuida- 
tion of our happiness in the strength and greatness of our 
minds, in a contempt and disregard of all earthly things, 
and in the practice of every virtue. For at present we are 
enervated by the softness of our imaginations, so that, should 
Ave leave this world before the promises of our fortune-tellei-s 
are made good to us, we should think oui-selves deprived of 
some great advantages, and seem disappointed and forlorn. 
But if, through life, we are in continual suspense, still expect- 
ing, still desiring, and are in continual pain and torture, good 
Gods ! how pleasant must that journey be which ends in 
security and ease ! How pleased am I with Theramenes ! 
of how exalted a soul does ho appear ! For, althougli we 
never read of him without tears, yet that illustrious man is 
not to be lamented in his death, who, when he had been 
imprisoned by the command of the thirty tyrants, drank of:, 
at one draught, as if he had been thirsty, the poisoned cup, 
and threw the remainder out of it with such foi'ce, tliat it 
sounded as it fell ; and then, on hearing the sound of the 
drops, he said, with i. smile, " I di-ink this to the most excellent 


Critias," who had been his most bitter enemy ; for it is 
«ti5tomary among the Greeks, at their banquets, to name the 
person to whom they intend to deUver the cup. This cele- 
brated man was pleasant to the last, even when he had 
received the poison into his bowels, and truly foretold the 
death of that man whom he named when he drank the poison, 
and that death soon followed. Who that thinks death an 
evil, could approve of the evenness of temper in this great 
man at the instant of dying ? Socrates came, a few years 
after, to the same prison and the same cup, by as great 
iniquity on the part of his judges as the tyrants displayed 
when they executed Theramenes. What a speech is that 
which Plato makes him deliver before his judges, after tliey 
had condemned him to death ! 

XLI. " I am not wdthout hopes, judges, that it is a 
favourable circumstance for me that I am condemned to die ; 
for one of these two things must necessarily happen, either 
that death will deprive me entirely of all sense, or else, that 
by dying I shall go from hence into some other place ; where- 
fore, if all sense is utterly extinguished, and if death is Hke 
that sleep which sometimes is so undisturbed as to be even 
without the visions of di-eams — in that case, ye good Gods ! 
what gain is it to die ! or what length of days can be imagined 
which would be preferable to such a night 1 And if the 
constant course of future time is to resemble that night, who 
is happier than I am 1 But if, on the other hand, what is said 
be true, namely, that death is but a removal to those 
regions where the souls of the departed dwell, then that state 
must be more happy still, to have escaped from those who call 
themselves judges, and to appear before such as are truly so, 
Minos, Rhadamanthus, ^Eacus, Triptolemus, and to meet with 
those who have lived with justice and probity !' Can this 
' This idea is beautifully expanded by Byron : — 

Yet if, as holiest men have deem'd, there be 
A land of souls beyond that sable shore 

To shame the doctrine of the Sadducee 
Aud sophist, nKidly vain of dubious lore, 

How sweet it were in concert to adore 

With those who made our mortal labours light. 

To hear each voice we fear'd to hear no more. 
Behold each mighty shade reveal'd to sight, 

The Bactrian, Samian sage, and all who taught the risrht 

ChikU Harold, ii • 


change of abode appear otherwise than gi-eat to you 1 Wliat 
bounds can yon set to the value of conversing with Oi-pheus, 
and Mnsseus, and Homer, and Hesiod 1 I would even, were 
it possible, willingly die (jften, in order to prove the certainty 
of what I speak of What delight must it be to meet with 
Palamedes, and Ajax, and otliers, who have been betrayed by 
the iniquity of their judges ! Then, also, should 1 experience 
the wisdom of even that king of kings, who led his vast 
troops to Troy, and the prudence of Ulysses and Sisyphus : 
nor should I then be condemned for prosecuting my inquiries 
on such subjects in the same way in which I have done here 
on earth. And even you, my judges, you, I mean, who have 
voted for my acquittal, do not you fear death, for nothing 
bad can befal a good man, whether he be alive or dead ; nor 
are his concerns ever ovei-looked by the Gods, nor in my case 
either has this befallen me by chance ; and I have nothing to 
charge those men with who accused or condemned me, but 
the fact that they believed that they were doing me harm." 
In this manner he proceeded : there is no part of his speech 
which I admire more than his last words : " But it is time," 
says he, " for me now to go hence, that I may die ; and for 
you, that you may continue to live. Which condition of the 
two is the best, the immortal Gods know ; but I do not 
believe that any mortal man does." 

XLII. Surely I would rather have had this man's soul, 
than all the fortunes of those who sat in judgment on hira ; 
although that very thing which he says no one except the 
Gods knows, namely, wliether life or death is most preferable, 
he knows himself, for he had previously stated his opinion on 
it ; but he maintained to the last that favourite maxim of his, 
of affirming notliing. And let us, too, adhere to this rule of 
not thinking anything an evil, which is a general provision of 
nature : and let us assure ourselves, that if death is an evU. 
it is an eternal evil, for death seems to be the end of a 
miserable life ; but if death is a misery, there can be no end of 
that. But why do I mention Socrates, or Theramenes, men 
distinguislied by tlie glory of virtue and wisdom 1 when a 
certain Lacedaemonian, whose name is not so much as known, 
held death in such contempt, that, when led to it by the 
ephori, he bore a cheerful and pleasant coimtenance : arid, 
v/hcu he was asked by one of his enemies whether he despised 


tie laws of Lycurgiis? "On the contrary," answered he, "T 
am greatly obliged to him, for he has anjerced me in a fine 
which I can pay without borrowing, or taking up mciney at 
interest." This was a man worthy of Sparta ! and I am 
almost persuaded of his innocence because of the greatness of 
his soul. Our own city has produced many such. But why 
should I name generals, and other men of high rank, when 
Cato could write, that legions have marched with alacrity to 
that place from whence they never expected to return ] With 
no greatness of soul fell the Lacedeemonians at Tlier- 
mopylae, on whom Simonides wrote the following epitaph : — 

Go, stranger, tell the Spartans, here we lie, 
Who to support their laws durst boldly die.' 

What was it that Leonidas, their general, said to them 1 
" March on with courage, my Lacedaemonians ; to-night, 
perhaps, we shall sup in the regions below." This was a 
brave nation whilst the laws of Lycurgus were in force. One 
of them, when a Persian had said to him in conversation, 
" We shall hide the sun from your sight by the number of 
our arrows and darts;" replied, " We shall fight then in the 
/shade." Do I talk of their men ? how great was that Lace- 
dajmonian woman, who had sent her son to battle, and when 
she heard that he was slain, said, " I bore him for that 
purpose, that you might have a man who durst die for his 
country." Ilowevei", it is a matter of notoriety that the 
Spartans were bold and hai'dy, for the discipline of a republic 
has great influence. 

XLIII. What, then, have we not reason to admire Theo- 
dorus the Cyrenean, a philosopher of no small distinction 1 
who, when Lysimachus threatened to crucify him, bade him 
keep those menaces for his courtiers: "to Theodorus it makes 
no difference whether he rot in the air or under ground." 
By which saying of the i)hilosopher I am reminded to say 
something of the custom of funerals and sepulture, and of 
funeral ceremonies, which is, indeed, not a diflficult subject, 
especially if we recollect what has been before said about in- 
Bensibility. The opinion of Socrates respecting this m;vtter 
is clearly stated in the book which treats of his death ; oi 

' The epitaph in the original is, — 

n ^uv ayytlKoy AaKtSai/xoviots '6ti rijSe 
KiiiJ.(6a, Tots Kfiyuy TruBi^/evot vo/ufiOis. 


which we have already said so much; for when he had 
discussed the immortality of the soul, and when the time 
of his dying was approaching rapidly, being asked by Critc>u 
how lie would be buried, " I have taken a great deal of 
pains," saith he, " my friends, to no pui-pose, for I have 
not convinced our Criton, that I shall fly from hence, and 
leave no pai-t of me behind : notwithstanding, Criton, if you 
can overtake me, wheresoever you get hold of me, bury me 
as you please : but believe me, none of you will be able to 
catch me when I have flown away from hence." That was 
excellently said, inasmuch as he allows his friend to do as he 
pleased, and yet shows his indifiereuce about anything of this 
kind. Diogenes was rougher, though of the same opinion , 
but in his character of a Cynic, he expressed himself in a 
somewhat harsher manner; he ordex'ed himself to be thrown 
anywhere without being buried. And when his friends 
replied, " What, to the birds and beasts?" " By no means," 
saith he ; " place my staff" near me, that I may drive them 
away." " How can you do that," they answer, '• for you will 
not perceive them?" "How am I then injured by being 
torn by those animals, if I have no sensation ?" Anaxagoras, 
when he was at the point of death, at Lampsacus, and was 
asked by his friends, wliether, if an}i;hing should happen to 
him, he would not choose to be carried to Clazomenae, his 
country, made this excellent answer, — " There is," says he, 
" no occasion for that, for all places are at an equal distance 
from the infernal regions." There is one thing to be obseiwed 
with respect to the whole subject of burial, tliat it relates to 
the body, whether the soul live or die. Now with regard to 
the bod}', it is clear that whether the soul live or die, that 
has no sensation. 

XLIV. But all things are full of errors. Achilles drags 
Hector, tied to his chariot; he thinks, I suppose, he tears 
his flesh, and that Hector feels the pain of it; therefore, he 
avenges himself on him, as he imagines; but Hecuba bewails 
this as a sore misfortune — 

I saw (a dreadful sight !) great Hector slain, 

Dragg'd at AcIuUl-s' car along the plain. 

What Hector? or how long will he be Hector? Accius is 
better in this, and Achilles, too, is sometimes reasonable — 

I Hector's body to his sire convey'd, 

Hector I sent to the infernal .-hade. 


Tt was not Hector that you dragged along, but a body that 
had been Hector's. Here another starts from underground, 
and will not suffer his mother to sleep — 

To thee I call, my once loved parent, hear, 

Nor longer with thy sleep relieve thy care ; 

Thine eye which pities not is closed— arise, 

Ling'ring I wait the unpaid obsequies. 

When these verses are sung with a slow and melancholy tune, 
so as to affect the whole theatre with sadness, one can scarce 
lielp thinking those unhappy that are unburied — 

Ere the devouring dogs and hungry vultures . . . 
He is afraid he shall not have the use of his limbs so well if 
they are torn to pieces, but is under no such apprehensions if 
they are burned — 

Nor leave my naked bones, my poor remains. 

To shameful violence, and bloody stains. 

T do not understand what he could fear who could pour forth 
Bucli excellent verses to the sound of the flute. We must, 
therefore, adhere to this, that nothing is to be regarded after 
we are dead, though many people revenge themselves on 
their dead enemies. Thyestes j)om-s forth several curses in 
some good lines of Emiius, praying, first of all, that Atreus 
may perish by a shipwreck, wliich is certainly a very terrible 
thing, for such a deatli is not free from very grievous sensa- 
tions. Then follow these unmeaning expressions : — 


On the sharp rock his mangled carcase lie, 
His entrails torn, to hun;rry birds a prey ; 
May he convulsive writhe his bleeding side, 
And with his clotted gore the stones be dyed. 
The rocks themselves were not more destitute of feeling than 
he who was hanging to tliem by his side; though Thyestes 
imagines he is wishing him the greatest torture. It would 
be tortiu'c indeed, if he were sensible; but as he is not, it can 
be none ; then how very unmeaning is this ! 

Let him, still hovering o'er the Stygian wave. 
Ne'er reach the body's peaceful port, the grave. 

You see under what mistaken notions all this is said. He 
imagines the body has its haven, and that the dead are at rest 
in tlieir graves. Pelops was greatJy to blame in not having 
informed and taught his son what regard was due to every- 


XLV. But what occasion is there to animadvert on the 
opinions of individuals, when we may observe whole nations 
to fall into all sorts of errors 1 The Egyptians embalm their 
dead, and keep them in their houses; the Persians dress 
tliem over with wax, and then bury them, that they may 
preserve their bodies as long as possible. It is customary 
with the Magi, to bury none of their order, unless they have 
been first torn by wild beasts. In Hyrcania, the people 
maintain dogs for the public use, the nobles have their 
own ; and we know that they have a good breed of dogs ; 
but every one, according to his ability, provides himself with 
some, in order to be torn by them ; and they hold that to be 
the best kind of interment. Chrysippus, who is curious in 
all kinds of historical facts, lias collected many other things 
of this kind, but some of them are so offensive as not to 
admit of being related. All that has been said of burying, 
is not worth our regard with respect to ourselves, though it 
is not to be neglected as to our friends, provided we are 
thoroughly aware that the dead are insensible; but the living, 
indeed, should consider what is due to custom and opinion, 
only they should at the same time consider that the dead are 
no ways interested in it. But death tnily is then met with 
the greatest tranquillity, when the dying man can comfort 
himself with his own praise. No one dies too soon who has 
finished the course of perfect virtue. I myself have known 
many occasions when I have seemed in danger of immediate 
death ; oh ! how I wish it had come to me, for I have gained 
nothing by tlie delay. I had gone over and over again the 
duties of life ; nothing remained but to contend with fortune. 
If reason, then, cannot sufficiently fortify us to enable us to 
feel a contempt for death, at all events, let our past life prove 
that we have lived long enough, and even longer than was 
necessary ; for notwithstanding the deprivation of sense, the 
dead are not without that good which peculiarly belongs to 
them, namely, the praise and glory which they have ac- 
quired, even though they are not sensible of it. For although 
there be nothing in glory to make it desirable, yet it follows 
virtue as its shadow. And the genuine judgment of the 
multitude on good men, if ever they form any, is more to 
their own praise, than of any real advantage to tlie dead ; yet 
I cannot say, however it may be received, that Lycui-gus and 


Solon have no glory from their laws, and from the political 
constitution which they established in their country ; or that 
Tliemistocles and Epaminondas have not glory from their 
martial virtue. 

XLVI. For Neptune shall sooner buiy Salamis itself with 
his waters, than the memory of the trophies gained there ; 
and the Boeotian Leuctra shall perish, sooner than the glory 
of that great battle. And longer still shall fame be before it 
deserts Curius, and Fabricius, and Calatinus, and the two 
Scipios, and the two African!, and Maximus, and Marcellus, 
and Paulus, and Cato, and Laalius, and numberless other 
heroes ; and whoever has caught any resemblance of them, 
not estimating it by common fame, but by the real applause 
of good men, may with confidence, when the occasion requires, 
approach death, on which we are sure that even if the chief 
good is not continued, at least no evil is. Such a man would 
even wish to die, whilst in prosperity ; for all the favours that 
could be heaped on him, would not be so agreeable to him, as 
the loss of them would be painful. That speech of the Lace- 
daemonian seems to have the same meaning, who, when 
Diagoras the Rhodian, who had himself been a conqueror at 
the Olympic games, saw two of his own sons conquerors there 
on the same day, approached the old man, and congratulating 
him, said, " You should die now, Diagoras, for no greater 
happiness can possibly await you." The Greeks look on these 
as great things; perhaps they think too highly of them, or 
rather they did so then. And so he who said this to Diagoras, 
looking on it as something very glorious, that tln-ee men out 
of one" family should have been conquerors there, thought it 
could answer no purpose to him, to continue any longer in 
life, where he could only be exposed to a reverse of fortune. 

I might liave given you a sufficient answer, as it seems to 
me, on this point, in a few words, as you had allowed the 
dead were not exposed to any positive evil ; but I have spoken 
at greater length on the subject for this reason, because this 
is our greatest consolation in the losing and bewailing of our 
friends. For we ought to bear with moderation any grief 
which arises from ourselves, or is endured on our own 
account, lest we should seem to be too much influenced by 
self-love. But should we suspect our departed friends to be 
under those evils, which they are generally imagined to be 


and to be sensible of them, then such a suspicion would give 
us intolerable pain ; and accordingly I wished, for my own 
sake, to pluck up this opinion by tlie roots, and on that 
account I have been perhaps somewhat moie prolix than was 

XLVII. A. More prolix than was necessary? certainly 
not, in my opinion. For I was induced by the former part 
of your speech, to wish to die ; but, by the latter, sometimes 
not to be unwilling, and at others to be wholly indifferent 
about it. But the effect of your whole argument is, that 1 
am convinced that death ought not to be classed among the 

M. Do you, then, expect that I am to give* you a regular 
peroration, like the rhetoricians, or shall I forego that art 1 

A. I would not have you give over an art which you have 
set off to such advantage ; and you were in the right to do 
so, for, to speak the truth, it also has set you off But what is 
that pei'oration 1 for I should be glad to hear it, whatever it is. 

J/. It is customary in the schools, to produce the opinions 
of the immortal gods on death ; nor are these opinions the 
fruits of the imagination alone of the lecturers, but they have 
the authority of Herodotus and many others. Cleobis and 
Biton are the first they mention, sons of the Ai-give priestess ; 
the story is a well-known one. As it was necessary that she 
should be drawn in a chariot to a certain annual sacrifice, 
which was solemnized at a temple some considerable distance 
from the town, and the cattle tliat were to draw the chariot 
had not arrived, tliose two young men whom I have just 
mentioned, pulling off their garments, and anointing their 
bodies with oil, harnessed themselves to the yoke. And in 
this manner tlie priestess was conveyed to the temple ; 
and when the chariot had arrived at the proper place, she is 
said to have entreated the goddess to bestow on tliem, as a 
reward for their piety, the greatest gift that a God could 
confer on man. And the young men, after having feasted 
with their mother, fell asleep ; and in the moniing they were 
found dead. Trophonius and Agamedes are said to have put 
up the same petition, for they having built a temple to 
Apollo at Delphi, oflercd supplications to the god, and desired 
of him some extraordinary reward for their care and labour, 
particularizing nothing, but asking for whatever Tras best for 


men. Accor.iingly, Apollo signified to them that lie would 
bestow it on them in three days, and on the third day at 
daybreak they were found dead. And so they say that this 
was a formal decision pronounced by that god, to whom the 
rest of the deities have assigned the province of divining with 
an accuracy superior to that of all the rest. 

XLVIIl. There is also a story told of Silenus, who, when 
taken prisoner by Midas, is said to have made him this 
present for his ransom ; namely, that he informed him ' that 
never to have been born, was by far the greatest blessing 
that could happen to man ; and that the next best thing was, 
to die very soon ; which very opinion Euripides makes use of 
in his Ci-esphontes, saying, — 

When man is born, 'tis fit, with solemn show, 
We speali our sense of liis approaching woe ; 
AVith other gestures, and a different eye, 
Proclaim our pleasure when he's bid to die.* 

There is sometiiing like this in Grantor's Consolation ; for he 
says, that Terinseus of Elysia, when he was bitterly lamenting 
the loss of his son, came to a place of divination to be in- 
formed why he was visited with so great affliction, ani 
received in his tablet these thi-ee verses, — 

Thou fool, to murmur at Euthynous' death ! 
The blooming j'outh to fate resigns his breath : 
The fate, whereon your happiness depends, 
At once the parent and the sou befriends.* 

On these and similar authorities they affirm that the question 
has been determined by the Gods. Nay more; Alcidamas, 
an ancient rhetorician of the very highest reputation, wroto 

' This was expressed in the Greek verses — 

'Apx^)" i"^** f^V <^Ci/a( i-mx^ovloiaiv &pi(TTOv, 
(pvvTa 5' ovcos &Ki<TTa TTvkas 'A'tSao TrepTiffai' 
which by some authors are attributed to Homer. 

* This is the first fragment of the Cresphontes. — Ed. Yar. vii.p. 594 1 

"ESd yap rifj-as (rvWoyou iroiovyiivovs 
Top (pwra 6p-nvf7i/, els oa tpxtTCLi KaKd. 
Tdv 5' ail Bai/ovra Kai ttovwv imravixivov 
Xaipovras fvcpTJUoivras (KirtixTrtiv S6fj.aiv. 

• The Greek verses are quoted by Plutarch — 

. . . "Hwov vTWif, 7i\i6ioi (ppivfs avSpSiv 

'EiiOvyoos KfTrai uoipiSio.' BavaTu 
OHk ?iv yap ^litiy Ka\bv avrqi ovTf yoyfWU 


eveu in praise of death, which he endeavoured to establish hy 
an enumeration of the evils of life; and his Dissertation haa 
a great deal of eloquence in it, but he was unacquainted with 
the more refined arguments of the philosophers. By the 
orators, indeed, to die for our country is always considered 
not only as glorious, but even as happy ; they go back as far 
as Erechtheus,' whose very daughters underwent death, for the 
safety of their fellow-citizens: they instance Codrus, who 
threw himself into the midst of his enemies, dressed like a 
common man, that his royal robes might not betray him ; 
because the oracle had declared the Athenians conquerors, if 
their kmg was slain. Meuo-'ceus^ is not overlooked by them, 
who, in compliance with the injunctions of an oracle, freely 
shed his blood for his country. Iphigenia ordered herself to 
be conveyed to Aulis, to be sacrificed, that her blood might 
be the cause of spilling that of her enemies. 

XLIX. From hence they proceed to instances of a fresher 
date. Harmodius and Aristogiton are in everybody's mouth; 
the memory of Leonidas the Lacedsemonian, and Epami- 
nondas the Theban, is as fresh as ever. Those philosophei-s 
were not acquainted with the many instances in our country — 
to give a list of whom would take up too much time — who, 
we see, considered death desirable as long as it was accom- 
panied with honour. But, notwithstanding this is the correct 
view of the case, we must use much persuasion, speak as if 
we were endued with some higher authority, in order to 
bring men to begin to wish to die, or cease to be afraid of 
death. For if that last day does not occasion s^n entire 
extinction, but a change of abode only, what can be more 
desirable ] and if it on the other hand destroys, and abso- 
lutely puts an end to us, what can be preferable to the havinc 
a deep sleep fall on us, in the midst of the fatigues of life, and 
being thus overtaken, to sleep to eternity ? And, should this 

' This refers to the story that when Eumolpus, the son of Neptune, 
whose assistance the Eleusinians had called in against the Athenians, 
had Ijeen slain by the Athenians, an oracle demanded the sacrifice of one 
of the daughters of Erechtheus, the King of Athens. And when one was 
drawn by lot, the others voluntarily accompanied her to death. 

^ .Menneceus was son of Creon, and in the war of the Argives against 
Thebes, Terosias declared that the Thebans should conquer if Men eceuF 
would sacrifice himsolf for his country j and accordingly Le killed him 
self outside the gates of Thebea. 


really be the case, then Ennius's language is more consistent 
with wisdom than Solon's; for our Ennius says — 

Let nane bestow upon my passing bier 
One needless sigh or unavailing tear. 

But the wise Solon says — 

Let me not uniamented die, but o'er my bier 
Burst forth the tender sigh, the friendly tear. 

But let us, if indeed it should be our fate to know the timo 
which is appointed by the Gods for us to die, prepare our- 
selves for it, with a cheerful and gi-ateful mind, thinking 
ourselves like men who are delivered from a jail, and released 
from their fetters, for the purpose of going back to our 
eternal habitation, which may be more emphatically called 
our own ; or else to be divested of all sense and trouble. If, 
on the other hand, we should have no notice given us of this 
decree, yet let us cultivate such a disposition as to look on 
that formidable hour of death as happy for us, though 
shocking to our friends; and let us never imagine anything 
to be an evil, which is an appointment of the immortal Gods, 
or of nature, the common parent of all. For it is not by 
hazard or without design that we have been born and situated 
as we have. On the contrary, beyond all doubt there is a 
certain power, which consults the happiness of human nature ; 
and this would neither have produced nor provided for a 
being, which after having gone through the labours of life 
was to fall into eternal misery l)y death. Let us rather infer, 
that we have a retreat and haven prepared for us, which I 
wish we could crowd all sail and arrive at; but though the 
wiiids should not serve, and we should be driven back, yet we 
sliall to a certainty arrive at that point eventually, though 
somewhat later. But how can that be miserable for one 
which all must of necessity undergo 1 I have given you a 
peroration, that you might not think I had overlooked or 
neglected anything. 

A. I am persuaded you have not; and, indeed, that pero- 
ration has confirmed me. 

Jf. I am glad it has had that effect ; but it is now time to. 
consult our health; to-morrow, and all the time we continae 

' The Greek is, 

fiilSf fioi &K\av(TTOf OavaTO! n6\oi, dWat (plhctcri 



in this Tusculan villa, let us consider this subject; and espe- 
cially those portions of it which may ease our pain, alleviate 
our fears, and lessen our desires, which is the greatest advan- 
tage we can reap from the whole of philosophy. 



1. Neoptolemus, in Eunius, indeed, says, that the study of 
philosophy was expedient for him; but that it required 
limiting to a few subjects, for that to give himself up entirely 
to it, was what he did not approve of. And for my part, 
Brutus, I am perfectly persuaded that it is expedient for me 
to philosophize ; for what can I do better, especially as I have 
no regular occupation 1 but I am not for limiting my philo- 
sophy to a few subjects, as he does; for philosophy is a 
matter in which it is difficult to acquire a little knowledge 
without acquainting yourself with many, or all its branches, 
nor can you well take a few subjects without selecting them 
out of a great number; nor can any one, who has acquired 
the knowledge of a few points, avoid endeavouring with the 
same eagerness to understand more. Rut still, in a busy life, 
and in one mainly occupied with military matters, such as 
that of Neoptolemus was at that time, even that limited 
degree of acquaintance with philosophy may be of gi'cat 
use, and may yield fruit, not perhaps so plentiful as a 
thorough knowledge of the whole of philosophy, but yet such 
as in some degree may at times deliver us from the dominion 
of our desires, our sorrows, and our fears ; just as the effect 
of that discussion which we lately maintained in my Tus- 
culan villa seemed to be, that a great contempt of death was 
engendered ; which contempt is of no small efficacy towards 
delivering the mind from fear; for whoever dreads what can- 
not be avoided, can by no means live with a quiet and tranquil 
mind. But he who is under no fear of death, not only because 
it is a thing absolutely inevitable, but also because he is jier- 
Buaded that death itself hath notliing temble in it. provides 
himself with a very great resource towards a hajipy life. How- 
ever, I am not ignorant, that many will argue strenuously 


against us ; and, indeed, that is a thing which can never be 
avoided, except by abstaining from writing at all. For if my 
Orations, which were addressed to the judgment and appro- 
bation of the people, (for that is a popular art, and the object 
of oi-atory is pop)ular applause.) have been criticised by some 
people who are inclined to withhold their praise from every 
thing but what they are persuaded they can attain to them- 
selves, and who limit their ideas of good speaking by the 
hopes which they conceive of what they themselves may 
attain to, and who declare, when they are overwhelmed with 
a flow of words and sentences, that they prefer the utmost 
poverty of thought and expression to that plenty and copious- 
ness; (from which arose the Attic kind of oratory, which 
they who professed it were strangers to, though they have 
now been some time silenced, and laughed out of the very 
courts of justice;) what may I not expect, when at present I 
cannot have the least countenance from the people, by whom 
I used to be upheld before ? For philosophy is satisfied with 
a few judges, and of her own accord industriously avoids the 
multitude, who are jealous of it, and utterly displeased with 
it ; so that, should any one undertake to cry down the whole 
of it, he would have the people on his side; while, if he should 
attack that school which I particularly profess, he would have 
great assistance from those of the other philosophers. 

II. But I have answered the detractors of philosophy in 
general, in my Hortensius. And what I had to say in favour 
of the Academics, is, I think, explained with sufficient accuracy 
in my four books of the Academic Question. 

But yet I am so far from desiring that no one should write 
ngainst me, that it is what I most earnestly wish ; for philo- 
sophy would never have been in such esteem in Greece itself, 
if it had not been for the strength which it acquired from the 
contentions and disputations of the most learned men ; and 
therefore I recommend all men who have abilities to follow 
my advice, to snatch this art also from declining Greece, and 
to transport it to this city ; as our ancestors by their study 
and industry have imported all their other arts, which were 
worth having. Thus the praise of oratory, raised from a low 
degree, is arrived at such perfection, that it must now decline, 
and, as is the nature of all things, verge to its dissolution in 
a very short time. La*^^ philosophy then derive its birth lu 


Latin lan^iiage from this time, and let iis lend it our assist- 
c.nce. ^.nd bear patiently to be contradicted and refuted ; and 
although those men may dislike such treatment who are 
bound and devoted to certain predetermined opinions, and are 
inider such obligations to maintain them that they are forced, 
for the sake of consistency, to adhere to them even though 
they do not themselves wholly approve of them ; we, on the 
other handj who pursue only probabilities, and who cannot gj 
beyond th;it which seems really likely, can confute othei-s 
without obstinacy, and are prepared to be confuted ourselves 
witiiout resentment. Besides, if these studies are ever brougiit 
home to us, we sh ,11 not want even Greek libraries, in which 
there is an infinite number of books, by reason of the mulf - 
tude of authors among them ; — for it is a common practi;>e 
with many to repeat the same things which have been written 
by others, which serves no purpose, but to stuff their shelves : 
and this will be our case, too, if many apply themselves to 
tliis study. 

III. But let us excite those, if possible, who have had a 
liberal education, and are masters of an elegant style, and who 
philosophize with reason and method. 

For there is a certain class of them who would willingly be 
called philosophers, wliose books in our language are said to 
lie numerous, and which I do not despise, for indeed I never 
read them : but still because the authore themselves declare 
that they write without any regularity, or method, or elegance, or 
ornament, I do not care to read what must be so void of en'ier- 
tainment. There is no one in the least acquainted with litera- 
ture, who does not knowthe style and sentiments of thatschool ; 
wherefore, since they are at no pains to express themselves 
well, I do not see why they should be read by anybody except 
by one another : let them read them, if they please, who are of 
the same opinions : for in the same manner as all men read 
Plato, and the other Socratics, with those who spning from 
them, even those who do not agi-ee with their opinions, or are 
very indifferent about them ; but scarcely any one except 
their own disciples, take Epicurus, or Metrodorus, into their 
hands ; so they alone read these Latin books, who thukthat the 
arguments contained in them are somid. But, in my opinion, 
whatever is published, should be recommended to the reading 
of every man of learning ; and though we may not succeed in 


this oui-selves, yet nevertheless we must be sensible that this 
uught to be the aim of every writer. And on this account 
I have always been pleased with the custom of the Peripa- 
tetics, and Academics, of disputing on both sides of the 
question ; not solely from its being the only method of dis- 
covering what is probable on every subject, but also because 
it atiords the greatest scope for practising eloquence ; a method 
that Aristotle first made use of, and afterward all the Aristo- 
telians ; and in our own memory Philo, whom we have often 
heard, appointed one time to treat of the precepts of tlie 
rhetoricians, and another for philosophical discussion, to which 
custom I was 'orought to conform by my friends at my 
Tusculum ; and accordingly our leisure time was spent in this 
manner. And therefore, as yesterday before noon, we applied 
ourselves to speaking ; and in the afternoon went down into 
the Academy : the discussions which were held there I have 
acquainted you with, not in the manner of a nari'ation, but 
in almost the very same words which were employed in the 

IV. The discourse, tlien, was introduced in this manner, 
whilst we were walking, and it was commenced by some such 
an opening as this. 

^•1. It is not to be expressed how much I was delighted, or 
rather edified, by your discourse of yesterday. For although 
I am conscious to myself that I have never been too fond of 
life, yet at times, when I have considered that there would be 
an end to this life, and that I must some time or other part 
with all its good things, a certain dread and uneasiness used 
to intrude itself on my thoughts; but now, believe me, I am 
so freed from that kind of uneasiness, that there is nothing 
that I think less worth any regard. 

21. I am not at all surprised at that, for it is the effect of 
philosophy, which is the medicine of our souls; it banishes 
all groundless apprehensions, frees us from desires, and drives 
away fears : but it has not the same influence over all men ; 
it is of very great influence when it falls in with a disposition 
well adapted to it. For not only does Fortune, as the old 
proverb says, assist the '"'~'ld, but reason djes so in a still 
greater degree ; for it, by certain precepts, as it were, 
strengthens even courage itself. You were born naturally 
^reat aud soaring, and with a contempt for all things which 


portain to man alone; therefore a discourse aga.nst death 
took easy possession of a brave soul. But do you imagine 
thai these same arguments have any force with those very 
perso/is who have invented, and canvassed, and published 
them, excepting indeed some very few particular peisons ? 
For how few philosophers will you meet with, whose life and 
manners are conformable to the dictates of reason ! who look 
on their profession, not as a means of displaying their learn- 
ing, but as a rule for their own practice ! who follow their 
own precepts, and comply with their own decrees ! You may 
see somo of such levity, and such vanity, that it would have 
been bel ter for them to have been ignorant ; some covetous of 
money, some others eager for glory, many slaves to their lusts ; 
so that their discourses and their actions are most strangely 
at variance; than which nothing in my opinion can he more 
unbecoming: for just as if one who professed to teach gram- 
mar, should speak with impropriety ; or a master of music 
sing out of tune ; such conduct has the worse appearance in 
*hese men, because they blunder in the very particular with 
.<rhich they profess that they are well acquainted : so a philo- 
sopher, ■« ho errs in the conduct of his life, is the more infamous, 
because lie is erring in the very thing which he pretends to 
teach, an I whilst he lays down rules to regulate life by, is 
irregular in his own life. 

V. A. Should this be the case, is it not to be feared that 
you are dressing up philosophy in false colours 1 for what 
stronger argument can there be that it is of little use, than 
that some very profound philosophers live in a discreditable 
manner ? 

M. Thai, mdeed, is no argument at all, for as all the fields 
which are cultivated are not fruitful, (and this sentiment of 
i\ccius is false, and asserted without any foundation, 

The ground j'ou sow on, is of small avail ; 
Vo yield a crop good seed can never fail :) 

it is not every mind which has been properly cultivated that 
produces fruit ; — and to go on with the comparison, as a fceld, 
although it may be naturally fruitful cannot produce a cri.p, 
without dressing, so neither can the mind, without educatittn; 
such is the weakness of either without the other. Whereas 
philosophy is the culture of the mind : this it is which plucks 
up vices by the roots; prepares the mind for the receiving of 


seeds, commits them to it. or, as I may say, sows them, in 
the hope that, when come to maturity, they may produce a 
plentiful harvest. Let us proceed, then, as we begun ; say, if 
you please, what shall be the subject of our disputation. 

A. I look on pain to be the greatest of all evils. 

M. What, even greater than infamy? 

A. I dare not indeed assert that, and I blush to think I am 
BO soon driven from my ground. 

3/. You would have had gi-eater reason for blushing had 
you persevered in it; for what is so unbecoming — what can 
appear worse to you, than disgrace, wickedness, immorality t 
To avoid which, what pain is there which we ought not (I will 
not say to avoid shirking, but even) of our own accord to 
encounter, and undergo, and even to court ] 

A. I am entirely of that opinion; but notwithstanding 
that pain is not the greatest evil, yet surely it is an evil. 

3f. Do you perceive, then, how much of the terror of pain 
you have given up on a small hint 1 

A. I see that plainly; but I should be glad to give up 
more of it. 

M. I will endeavour to make you do so, but it is a great 
undertaking, and I must have a disposition on your part, 
which is not inclined to offer any obstacles. 

A. You shall have such : for as I behaved yesterday, so 
now I will follow reason wherever she leads. 

VI. M. First, then, I will speak of the weakness of many 
philosophers, and those too of various sects ; the head of whom, 
both in authority and antiquity, was Aristippus, the pupil of 
Socr.ates, who hesitated not to say, that pain was the greatest 
of all evils. And after him Epicurus easily gave into this 
effeminate and enervated doctrine. After him Hieronymus, 
the Rhodian, said, that to be without pain was the chief 
good, so great an evil did pain appear to him to be. The 
rest, with the exceptions of Zeno, Aristo, Pyrrho, were 
pretty much of the same opinion that you were of just 
now, tliat it was indeed an evil, but that there were many 
worse. When then nature herself and a certain generous 
feeling of virtue at once prevents you from persisting in the 
assertion that pain is the chief evil, and when you were driven 
from such an opinion when disgrace was contrasted with pain, 
sliall philosophy, the preceptress of life, cling to this idea 


for SO many ages ? Wliat duty of life, what praise, what 
reputation wouhi be of such consequence that a man should 
be desirous of gaining it at the expense of submitting to 
bodily pain, when he has persuaded himself that pain is the 
greatest evil ? On the other side, what disgrace, what ignominy, 
would he not submit to, that he miglit avoid pain, when per- 
suaded that it was the greatest of evils ? Besides, what person, 
if it be only true that j)ain is the greatest of evils, is not mise- 
rable, not only when he actually feels pain, but also whenever 
he is aware that it may befal him 1 And who is there whom 
pain may not befal? so that it is clear that there is absolutely 
no one who can possibly be liapj^y. Metrodorus. indeed, thinks 
that man perfectly happy, whose body is free from all dis- 
orders, and who has an assurance that it will always continue 
80 ; but who is there who can be assured of that ? 

VII. But Epicurus, indeed, says such things that it should 
seem that his design was only to make people laugh ; for he 
affirms somewhere, that if a wise man were to be burned, or 
put to the tortue, — you expect, perhaps, that he is going to 
say he would bear it, he would support himself under it with 
resolution ! he would not yield to it, and that, by Hercules ! 
would be very commendable, and worthy of that very Her- 
cules whom I have just invoked : but even this will not 
satisfy Epicurus, that robust and hardy man ! No ; his 
wise man, even if he were in Phalaris's bull, would say. How 
sweet it is ! how little do I regard it ! What sweet 1 is 
it not sufficient, if it is not disagi'eeable ? But those very 
men who deny pain to be an evil, are not in the hai)it of 
saying that it is agi-eeable to any one to be tormented ; they 
rather say, that it is cruel, or hard to bear, afflicting, un- 
natural, but still not an evil : while this man who says that 
it is the only evil, and the very worst of all evils, yet thinks 
that a wise man would pronounce it sweet. I do not require 
of you to speak of pain in the same words which Epicurus 
uses — a man, as you know, devoted to pleasure : he may make 
no difference, if he pleases, between Phalaris's bull, and his 
own bed : but I cannot allow the wise man to be so indif- 
ferent about pain. If he l>ears it with courage, it is sufiicient; 
that he should rejoice in it, I do not expect; for pain is, 
beyond all question, sharp, bitter, against nature, hard to 
bubmit to, and to bear. Observe Philoctetes: Wp raav aiiow 


him to lament, for he saw Hercules himself groaning loudly 
through extremity of pain on mount CEta: the arrows with 
which Hercules presented him, were then no consolation to 
liim, when 

The viper's bite, impregnating his veins 
With poison, rack'd him with its bitter pains. 

And therefore he cries out, desiring help, and wishing to die, 

Oh ! that some friendly hand its aid would lend, 
My body from this rock's vast height to send 
Into the briny deep! I'm all on tire, 
And by tiiis fatal wound must soon expire. 

It is hard to say that the man who was obliged to cry out 
ni this manner, was not oppressed with evil, and great evil 

VIIT. But let us observe Hercules himself, who was sub- 
dued by pain at the very time when he was on the point of 
attaining immortality by death. What words does Sophocles 
here put in his mouth, in his Trachinice 1 who, when Deianira 
had put upon him a tunic dyed in the centaur's blood, and it 
stuck to his entrails, says. 

What tortures I endure no words can tell. 
Far greater these, than those which erst befel 
From the dire terror of thy consort, Jove ; 
E'en stern Eurystheus' dire command above; 
This of thy daughter, Oineus, is the fruit, 
Beguiling me with her envenom'd suit, 
"Whose close embrace doth on my entrails prey, 
Consuming life ; my lungs forbid to play ; 
The blood forsakes my veins, my manly heart 
Forgets to beat ; enervated, each part 
Neglects its office, whilst my fatal doom 
Proceeds ignobly from the weaver's loom. 
The hand of foe ne'er hurt me, nor the lierce 
Giant issuing from his parent earth. 
Ne'er could the Centaur such a b]"w enforce, 
No barbarous foe, nor all the Grecun force ; 
This arm no savage people could withstand. 
Whose realms I traversed to reform the land. 
Thus, though I ever bore a manly heart, 
I fall a victim to a woman's art. 
IX- Assist, my son, if thou that name dost hear, 
My groans preferring to thy mother's tear : 
Convey her here, if, in thy pious heart. 
Thy mother shares not an unequal part: 
Proceed, be bold, thy father's fate bemoan. 
Nations will join, you will not weep alono. 


Trhat a sight is this same briny source, 
Unknown before, through all my labours' courBO ) 
That virtue, which could brave each toil but latu^ 
With woman's weakness now bewails its fate. 
Approach, my son ; behold thy father laid, 
A wither'd carcase that implores thy aid ; 
Let all behold ; and thou, imperious Jove, 
On me direct thy lightning from above : 
Now all its force the poison doth assume. 
And my burnt entrails with its flame consume. 
Crest-fallen, unembraced I now let fall 
Listless, those hands that lately conquer'd all ; 
When the Nemaean lion own'd their force, 
And he indignant fell a breathless corse : 
The serpent slew, of the Lernean lake, 
As did the Hydra of its force partake : 
By this, too, fell the Erymanthian boar : 
Een Cerberus did his weak strength deplore. 
This sinewy arm did overcome with ease 
That dragon, guardian of the golden fleece. 
My many conquests let some others trace ; 
It's mine to say, I never knew disgrace.' 
Can we. then, despise pain, when we see Hercules himself 
giving vent to his expressions of agony with such impatience? 
IX. Let us see what ^schylus says, who was not only 
a poet, but a Pythagorean philosopher, also, for tliat is 
the account which you have received of him ; how doth he 
make Prometheus bear the pain he suffered for the Lemnian 
theft, when he clandestinely stole away the celestial fire, auvl 
bestowed it on men, and was severely punished by Jupiter 
for the theft. Fastened to mount Caucasus, he speaks thus : 
Thou heav'n-born race of Titans here fast bound,' 
Behold thy brother! As the sailors sound 
AVitb care the bottom, and their ships confine 
To some safe shore, with anchor and with line : 
So, by Jove's dread decree, the god of fire 
Confines me here the victim of Jove's ire. 
With baneful art bis dire machine he shapes ; 
From such a god what mortal e'er escapes 1 
When each third day shall triumph o'er the nigh*. 
Then doth the vulture, with his talons light, 
Seize on my entrails; which, in rav'nous guise, 
He preys on ! then with wing extended files 
Aloft, and brushes with his plumes the gore: 
But when dire Jove my liver doth restore. 
Back he returns impetuous to his prey. 
Clapping his wings, he cuts th' ethereal way. 

» Soph. Trach. 1047. 


Thus do I nourish with my blood this pest, 
Confined my arms, unable to contest; 
Entreating only, that in pity Jove 
Would take my life, and this cursed plague remove. 
But endless ages past, unheard my moan, 
Sooner shall drops dissolve this very stone.' 

And therefore it scarcely seems possible to avoid calling a 
man who is suffering, miserable; and if he is miserable, then 
l)ain is an evil. 

XI. A. Hitherto you are on my side; I will see to that 
by-and-by ; and, in the meanwhile, whence are those verses ] 
I do not remember them. 

M. I will inform yo\i, for you are in the right to ask. Do 
you see that I have much leisure 1 

A. What then? 

M. I imagine, when you were at Athens, you attended 
frequently at the schools of the philosophers. 

A. Yes, and with great pleasure. 

M. You observed then, that, though none of them at that 
time were very eloquent, yet they used to mix verses with 
their harangues. 

A. Yes, and particularly Dionysius, the Stoic, used to em- 
ploy a great many. 

M. You say right ; but they were quoted without any 
appropriateness or elegance. But our friend Philo used to 
give a few select lines and well adapted; and in imitation of 
him, ever since I took a fancy to this kind of elderly decla- 
mation, I have been very fond of quoting our poets, and 
wliere I cannot be supplied from them, I translate from the 
Greek, that the Latin language may not want any kind of 
ornament in this kind of disputation. 

But do you not see how much harm is done by poets ? 
They introduce the bravest men lamenting over their mis- 
fortunes : they soften our minds, and they are besides so 
entertaining, that we do not only read them, but get them by 
heart. Thus the influence of the poets is added to our want 
of discipline at home, and our tender and delicate manner of 
living, so that between them they have deprived virtue of all 
its vigour and energy. Plato therefore was right in banishing 

' The lines quoted by Cicero here, appear to have come from the Latin 
p'ay of Prometheus by Accius ; the ideas are borrowed rather than 
translated rom the Prometheus of j£schylus. 



them from his commonwealth, where he required the best 
morals, and the best form of govei'nment. But we, wlio 
have all our learning from Greece, read and learn these worksi 
of theirs from our cliildhood; and look on this as a libend 
and learned education. 

XII. But why are we angry with the poets? we may find 
some philosophers, those masters of virtue, who have taught 
that pain was the greatest of evils. But you, young man, 
when you said but just now that it appeared so to you, upon 
being asked by me what appeared greater than infamy, 
gave up that opinion at a word. Suppose I ask Epicurus the 
same question. He will answer, that a trifling degree of pain 
is a greater evil than the greatest infamy ; for that there is 
no evil in infamy itself, unless attended with pain. What 
pam then attends Epicurus, when he says this very thing, 
that pain is the greatest evil ; and yet nothing can be a 
greater disgrace to a philosopher than to talk thus. There- 
fore, you allowed enough when you admitted that infamy 
appeared to you to be a greater evil than pain. And if yon 
abide by this admission, you will see how far pain should be 
resisted : and that our inquiry should be not so much 
whether pain be an evil ; as how the mind may be fortified for 
resisting it. The Stoics infer from some petty quibbling 
arguments, that it is no evil, as if the dispute was about a 
word, and not about the thing itself Why do you impose 
upon me, Zeno 1 for when you deny what appears very dread- 
ful to me to be an evil ; I am deceived, and am at a loss to 
know why that which appears to me to be a most miserable 
thing, should be no evil. The answer is, that nothing in au evil 
but what is base and vicious. You return to your trifling, for 
you do not remove what made me uneasy. I know that pain 
is not vice, — you need not inform me of that : but show me, 
that it makes no difference to me whether I am in pain or 
not. It has never anything to do, say you, with a happy life, 
for that depends upon virtue alone ; but yet pain is to lie 
avoided. If I ask, why 1 it is disagreeable, against nature, 
hard to bear, woful and afflicting. 

XIII. Here are many words to express that by so many 
different forms, which we call by the single word, evil. You 
are defining pain, instead of removing it, when you say, it iy 
disagreeable, unnatural, scarcely possible to be endured or 



home : nor are you wrong in saying so; but tho man who 
vaunts himself in such a manner should not give way in hia 
conduct, if it be true that nothing is good but what is honest, 
and nothing evil but what is disgracetul. This would be 
wishing, not proving. — This argument is a better one, and 
has more truth in it, that all things which nature abhors are 
to be looked upon as evil ; that those which she approves of, 
are to be considered as good : for when this is admitted, and 
the dispute about words removed, that which they with 
"eason embrace, and which we call honest, right, becoming, 
imd sometimes include under the general name of virtue, 
appears so far superior to everytliing else, that all other things 
which are looked upon as the gifts of fortune, or the good 
things of the body, seem trifling and insignificant : and no 
evil whatever, nor all the collective body of evils together, 
appears to be compared to the evil of infamy. Wherefore, if, 
as you gi'anted in the beginning, infamy is worse than pain, 
pain is certainly nothing; for while it appears to you base 
and unmanly to groan, cry out, lament, or faint under pain — 
while you cherish notions of probity, dignity, honour, and 
keeping your eye on them, refrain yourself — pain will cer- 
tainly yield to virtue, and by the influence of imagination, 
will lose its whole force. — For you must either admit that 
there is no such thing as virtue, or you must despise evei"}' 
kind of pain. Will you allow of such a virtue as prudence, 
without which no virtue whatever can even be conceived? 
What then 1 will that suffer you to labour and take pains to 
no purpose 1 Will temperance permit you to do anyt.liing to 
excess 1 Will it be possible for justice to be maintained by 
one who through the force of pain discovers secrets, or be- 
trays his confederates, or deserts many duties of life? Will 
you act in a manner consistently with courage, and its at- 
tendants, greatness of soul, resolution, patience, and contempt 
for all worldly things 1 Can you hear yoiu'self called a gi'eat 
man, when you lie groveling, dejected, and deploring your 
condition, with a lamentable voice; no one would call you 
even a man, while in such a condition : you must therefore 
either abandon all pretensions to courage, or else pain must 
be put out of the question. 

XIV. You know very well, that even though part '^f your 
Corinthian furniture were gone, the remainder might be safe 


without that; but if you lose one virtue (though virtue in 
reahty cannot be lost), still if, I say, you should acknowledge 
that you were defic'ent in one, you would be stripped of all. 
Can you, then, call yourself a brave man, of a great soul, 
endued with patience and steadiness above the frowns of for- 
tune ? or Philoctetes ? for I choose to instance him, rather 
than yourself, for he certainly was not a brave man, who lay 
in his bed, which was watered with his tears. 

Whose groans, bewailings, and wliose bitter cries, 
With grief incessant rent the very skies. 

I do not deny pain to be pain ; for were that the case, in 
what would courage consist 1 but I say it should be assuaged 
by patience, if there be such a thing as patieuce : if there be 
no such thing, why do we speak so in praise of philosi)phy ? 
or why do we glory in its name ? Does pain annoy us ? let 
it sting us to the heart : if you are without defensive armour, 
bare your throat to it ; but if you are secured by Vulcauian 
armour, that is to say by resolution, resist it; sh(^uld you fail 
to do so, that guardian of your honour, your courage, will 
forsake aud leave you. — By the laws of Lycurgus, and \>y 
those which were given to tlie Cretans by Ju])iter, or which 
Minos established under the direction of Jupiter, as the poets 
say, the youths of the state are trained by the practice of 
hunting, running, enduring hunger and thirst, cold aiui lieat. 
The boys at Sparta are scourged so at the altars, that h\uod 
follows the lash in abundance, nay, sometimes, as I used to 
hear when I was there, they are whipped even to death ; and 
yet not one of them was ever heard to cry out, or so much as 
groan. What then? shall men not be able to bear what boys 
do 1 and shall custom have such great force, and reason none 
at all ? 

XV. There is some difference betwixt labour and pain ; 
they border upon one another, but still there is a certain 
difference between them. Labour is a certain exercise of the 
mind or body, in some employment or undertaking of serious 
trouble and importance; but pain is a sharp motion in the 
body, disagreeable to our senses. — Both these feelings, the 
Greeks, whose language is more copious than ours, express by 
the common name of ndros ; therefore thej call indnstrious 
men, pains-taking, or ratiier fond of labour; we, more con- 
veuieutly, call them laborious ; for labouring is cue thing 


and enduring pain another. You see, Greece, your barren- 
ness of words, sometimes, though you tliink you are always 
so rich in them. I say, then, that tliere is a diflFerence 
betwixt labouring and being in pain. When Caius Maiiua 
had an operation performed for a swelling in his thigh, he 
felt pain ; when he headed his troops in a very hot season, he 
laboured. Yet these two feelings bear some resemblance to 
one another; for the accustoming ourselves to labour makes 
the endurance of pain more easy to us. — And it was be- 
cause they were influenced by tliis reason, that the founders 
of the Grecian form of government provided that the bodies 
of their youth should be strengthened by labour, which 
custom the Spartans transferred even to their women, who 
in other cities lived more delicately, keeping within the walls 
of their houses, but it was otherwise with the Spartans. 

The Spartan women, with a manly air, 
Fatigues and dangers with iheir husbands share ; 
'I'hey in fantastic sports have no delight, 
Partners with them in exercise and tight. 

And in these laborious exercises pain interferes sometimes; 
they are thrown down, receive blows, have bad falls, and are 
bruised, and the labour itself produces a sort of callousness to 

XVI. As to military service, (I speak of our own, not of 
that of the Spartans, for they used to march slowly to the 
sound of the flute, and scarce a word of command was given 
without an anapsest ;) you may see in the first place whence 
the very name of an army (Exercitus)' is derived; and 
secondly, how great the labour is of an army on its marcii ; 
then consider that they carry more than a fortnight's provi- 
sion, and whatever else they may want : that they carry the 
burthen of the stakes,'' for as to shield, sword, or helmet, they 
^ook on them as no more encumbrance than their own limbs, 
for they say that arms are the limbs of a soldier, and those 
indeed they carry so commodiously, that when there is occa- 
sion they throw down their burdens, and use their arms as 
readily as their limbs. Why need I mention the exercises of 
the legions] and how great the labour is which is under- 

' From Exercco. 

' Each soldier carried a stake, to help form a palisade in front of the 



gone in the ruiiniiiij, encounters, shouts! Hence i! is, thn:; 
their minds are worked up to make so hght of uoiuuk? in 
action. Take a soldier of equal l)ravery, l)ut undisciplined, 
and he will seem a woman. Why is it that there is this 
sensihle difference hetwixt a raw recruit and a veteran soldier? 
The age of the young soldiers is for the most part in their 
favour, but it is practice only that enables men to bear 
labour, and despise wounds. Moreover, we often see, when 
the wounded are carried off the field, the raw untried soldier, 
though but slightly wounded, cries out most shamefully; l)ut 
the more brave experienced veteran only inquires for some 
cue to dress his wounds, and says, 

Patrov^lus, to thy aid I must appeal. 

Ere worse ensue, my bleeding wounds to heal; 

The sons of yEsculapius are employ'd, 

No room for me, so many are annoy'd. 

XVII. This is certainly Eurypylus himself. What an ex- 
perienced man ! — Wliilst his friend is continually enlarging 
on his misfortunes, you may observe that he is so flir from 
weeping, that he even assigns a reason why he should bear his 
wounds with patience. 

Who at his enemy a stroke directs. 

His sword to ligtit upon himself expects. 

Patroclus, I suppose, will lead him off to his chamber to 
bind up his wounds, at least if he be a man : but not a word 
of that; he only inquires how the battle went. 

Say how the Argives hear themselves in fight? 

And yet no words can show the truth as well as those, your 
deeds and visible sufferings. 

Peace ! and my wounds bind up ; 
but though Euiypyhis could bear these afflictions, ^Esopus 
could not, 

Where Hector's fortune prcss'd our yielding troops ; 
and he explains the rest, though in pain; so unbounded ia 
military glory in a brave man ! Shall, then, a veteran soldier 
be able to behave in this manner, and shall a wise and learned 
man not be able? Surely the latter might be able to bear 
pain better, and in no small degree either : at present, how 
ever, I am confining myself to what is engendered practice 
and discipline. 1 am not yet come to speak of reason auvl 
philosophy. You may often hear of old women living without 


victuals for three or four days : but take away a wiTstler's 
provisions but for one day, and he will implore the aid of 
Jupiter Olympius, the very God for whom he exercises him- 
self : he will cry out that he cannot endure it. Great is the 
force of custom ! Sportsmen will continue whole nights in 
the snow : they will bear being almost frozen upon the 
mountains. From practice boxers will not so much as utter 
a groan, however bruised by the cestus. But what do you 
think of those to whom a victory in the Olympic games 
seemed almost on a par with the ancient consulships of the 
Roman peoY)le? What wounds will the gladiators bear, who 
are either barbarians, or the very dregs of mankind! How 
do they, who are trained to it, prefer being wounded to basely 
avoiding it! How often do they prove that they consider 
nothing but the giving satisfaction to their masters or to the 
people ! for when covered with wounds, they send to their 
masters to learn their pleasure; if it is their will, they are 
ready to lie down and die. What gladiator, of even moderate, 
reputation, ever gave a sigh? who ever turned pale? who 
ever disgraced himself either in the actual combat, or even 
when about to die 1 who that had been defeated ever drew in 
his neck to avoid the stroke of death 1 So great is the force of 
practice, deliberation, and custom I Shall this, then, be done by 

A Samnite rascal, worthy of his trade ; 

and shall a man born to glory have so soft a part in his soul 
as not to be able to fortify it by reason and reflection 1 The 
sight of the gladiators' combats is by some looked on as cruel 
and inhuman, and I do not know, as it is at present managed, 
but it maybe so; but when the guilty fought, we might- 
receive by our ears perhaps (but certainly by our eyes we 
could not) better training to harden us against pain and^ 

XVIII. I have now said enough about the effects of exercise, 
custom, and careful meditation ; proceed we now to consider 
the force of reason, unless you have something to reply to 
what has been -said. 

A. That I should interrupt you ! by no means; for your 
discourse has brought me over to your opinion. Let the 
Stoics, then, think it their business to determine whether pain 
be an evil or not, while they endeavour to show by some 



Btraincd and trifling conclusions, which are iwthing to the 
])urpose, that pain is no evil. My opinion is, that whatever 
it is. it is not so great as it appears ; and I sav, that men are 
influenced to a great extent by some false representations and 
appearance of it, and that all which is really felt is capable of 
being endured. Where shall I begin, then ] shall I superH- 
cially go over what I said before, that my discourse may have 
a greater scope? 

This, then, is agi^eed upon by all, and not only by learned 
men, but also by the unlearned, that it becomes the brave 
and magnanimous, those that have patience and a spirit above 
this world, not to give way to pain. Nor has there ever been 
any one who did not commend a man who boi-e it in this 
manner. That, then, which is expected from a brave man, 
and is commended when it is seen, it must surely be base in 
any one to be afraid of at its approach, or not to bear when it 
comes. But I would have you consider whether, as all the 
right affigctions of the soul are classed under the name of 
virtues, the truth is that this is not properly the name of 
them all, but that they all have their name from that leading 
virtue which is superior to all the rest : for the name, 
" virtue," comes from vir, a man, and courage is the peculiar 
distinction of a man : and this virtue has two principal 
duties, to despise death and pain. We must, then, exert 
these, if we would be men of virtue, or rather, if we would be 
men, because virtue {mrtus) takes its very name from vir, 

XIX. You may inquire, perhaps, how ? and such an 
inquiry is not amiss, for philosophy is ready with he)- 
assistance. Epicurus offers himself to you, a man far fi-om a 
bad, or, I should rather say, a very good man ; he advises no 
more than he kncvs. " Despise pain," says he. Who is it 
saith this 1 Is it the same man who calls pain the greatest 
of all evils 1 It is not, indeed, very consistent in him. Let 
us hear what he says : — " If the pain is excessive it must 
needs be short." I must have that over again, for I do not 
apprehend what you mean exactly by " excessive " or " short." 
That is excessive, than which nothing can be gi-eater ; that 
is short, than which nothing is shorter. I do not regard 
the grea';ness of any pain from which, by reason of the short- 
ness of its continuance, I shall be dehvei'ed sdmost before it 


reaches me. Bat, if the pain be as great as that of Philoc- 
tetes, it will apj)ear great indeed to me, but yet not the 
greatest that I am capable of bearing ; for the pain is con- 
hned to my foot : but my eye may pain me, I may have a 
pain in the head, or sides, or lungs, or in every part of me. 
It is far, then, from being excessive ; therefore, says he, pain 
of a long continuance has more pleasure in it than uneasiness. 
Now I cannot bring myself to say so great a man talks non- 
sense; but I imagine he is laughing at us. My opinion is- 
that the greatest pain (I say tlie gi-eatest, though it may be 
ten atoms less than another) is not therefore short, because 
acute ; I could name to you a great many good men who 
have been tormented many years with the acutest pains of 
the gout. But this cautious man doth not determine the 
measure of that greatness or of duration, so as to enable us 
to know what he calls excessive, with regard to pain, or short, 
with respect to its continuance. Let us pass him by, then, 
as one who says just nothing at all ; and let us force him to 
acknowledge, notwithstanding he might behave himself some- 
what boldly under his cholic and his strangury, that no remedy 
against pain can be had from him who looks on pain as the 
gi'eatest of all evils. We must apply, then, for relief else- 
where, and nowhere better (if we seek for Avhat is most con^ 
sistent with itself) than to those who place the chief good in 
honesty, and the greatest evil in infamy. You dare not so 
much as groan, or discover the least uneasiness in their 
company, for virtue itself speaks to you through them. 

XX. Will you, when you may observe children at Lace- 
da^mon, and young men at Olympia, and barbarians in the 
amphitheatre, receive the severest wounds, and bear them 
without once opening their mouths, — will j^ou, I say, if any 
pain should by chance attack you, cry out like a woman ? 
will you not rather bear it with resolution and constancy ? 
and not cry. It is intolerable, nature cannot bear it. I hear 
what you say, — Boys bear this because they are led thereto by 
glory : some bear it through shame, many through fear, and 
yet are we afraid that nature cannot bear w'hat is borne by 
many, and in such different circumstances'? Nature not only 
bears it, but challenges it, for there is nothing with her pre- 
ferable, nothing which she desires more, than credit, and 
reputation, and praise, and honour, and glory. I choose here 


to describe this one thing under many names, and 1 hive 
used many that you may have the clearer idea of it ; fur 
what I mean to say is, that whatever is desirable of itselt, 
proceeding from virtue, or placed in virtue, and commendable 
on its own account, (which I would rather agree to call the 
only good than deny it to be the chief good,) is what men 
should prefer above all things. And as we declare this to be 
the case with respect to honesty, so we speak in the contrary 
manner of infomy ; nothing is so odious, so detestable, nothing 
so unworthy of a man : and if you are thoroughly convinced 
of this (^or, at the beginning of this discourse, you allowed 
that there appeared to you more evil in infamy than in pain), 
it follows that you ought to have the command over your- 
self, though I scarcely know how this expression may seem 
an accurate one, which appears to represent man as made up 
of two natures, so that one should be in command and the 
other be subject to ft. 

XXI. Yet this division does not proceed from ignorance ; 
for the soul admits of a two-fold division, one of which par- 
takes of reason, the other is without it ; when, therefore, we 
are ordered to give a law to ourselves, the meaning is, that 
reason should restrain our rashness. There is in the soul of 
every man, something natm-ally soft, low, enei-vated in a 
manner, and languid. Were there nothing besides this, men 
would be the greatest of monsters ; but there is present to 
every man reason, which presides over, and gives laws to all ; 
which, by improving itself, and making continual advances, 
becomes perfect virtue. It behoves a man, then, to take care 
that reason shall have the command over that pai"t which is 
bound to practise obedience. In what manner ? you will say. 
Why, as a master has over his slave, a general over his army, 
a fother over his son. If that part of the soul which I have 
called soft behaves di^racefully, if it gives itself up to 
lamentations and womaniish teare, then let it be restrained, 
and committed to the care of friends and relations, for we 
often see those persons brought to order by shame, whom no 
reasons can influence. Therefore, we should confine those 
feelings, like our servants, in safe custody, and almost with 
chains. But those who have more resolution, and yet are nol 
utterly imniovalile, we shoidd encourage with our exhorta- 
tions, as we would good soldiers, to recollect themselves, aud 

ox BEARING :MN. 351 

maintain their honour. Tliat wisest man of all Gieece, in the 
Nipti-se, dees not lament too much over his wounds, or 
rather, he is moderate in his grief : — 

Move slow, my friends, your hasty speed refrain, 

Lest by your motion you increase my paiu. 

Pacuvius is better in this than Sophocles, for in the one 
Ulysses bemoans his wounds too vehemently; for the very 
people who carried him after he was wounded, though his 
grief was moderate, yet, considering the dignity of the man. 
did not scruple to say. 

And thou, Ulysses, long to war inured, 

Thy wounds, though great, too feebly hast endured. 

The wise poet understood that custom w^as no contemptible 
instructor how to bear jiain. But the same hero complains 
with more decency, though in great pain, — 

Assist, support me, never leave me so; 
Unbind my wounds, oh ! execrable woe ! 

lie begins to give way, but instantly checks himself : — 
Away, begone, but cover first the sore; 
For your rude hands but make my pains the more. 

Do you observe how he constrains himself; not that his 
l)odi]y pains were less, but because he checks the anguish of 
liis mind 1 Therefore, in the conclusion of the Niptrse, he 
i*lames others, even when he himself is dying : — 

Complaints of fortune may become the man. 
None but a woman will thus weeping stand. 

And so that soft place in his soul obeys his reason, just as 
an abashed soldier does his stern commander. 

XXII. The man, then, in whom absolute wisdom exists (such 
a man, indeed, we have never as yet seen, but the philosophers 
have described in their writings what sort of man he will be, 
if he should exist); such a man, or at least that perfect and 
altsolute reason which exists in him, will have the same au- 
thority over the inferior part as a good parent has over his 
dutiful cliildren, he will bring it to obey his nod, without 
any trouble or difficulty. He will rouse himself, prepare and 
arm himself to oppose pain as he would an enemy. If you 
inquire what arms he wil) provide himself with; they will be 
contention, encoin-agement, discourse with himself; he wil' 
say thus to himself. Take care that you are guilty of nothing 
base, ^s'.nguid, or unmanly. Me will turn over in his niinJ 


all the different kinds of honour. Zeno of Elea will occur to 
him, wlio suffered everythii\g rather than betray his confede- 
rates in tlie design of putting an end to the tyranny. He 
will reflect on Anaxarchus, the pupil of Democritus, who 
having fallen into the hands of Nicocreon king of Cyprus, 
without the least entreaty for meicy, or refusal, submitted to 
every kind of torture. Calanus the Indian will occur to 
him, an ignorant man and a barbarian, born at the foot of 
JSIount Caucasus, wlio committed himself to the flames by his 
own free, voluntary act. But we, if we have the tooth-ache, 
or a pain in the foot, or if the body be any ways affected, 
cannot bear it. For our sentiments of pain, as well as 
I)leasure, are so trifling and effeminate, we are so enervated 
and relaxed by luxuries, that we cannot bear the sting of a 
bee without crying out. But Caius Marius, a plain country- 
man, but of a manly soul, when he had an operation per- 
formed on him, as I mentioned above, at first refused to be 
tied down ; and he is the first instance of any one's having 
had an oj)eration performed on him without being tied down. 
Why, then, did others bear it afterwards 1 Why, from the 
force of exam])le. You see, then, that pain exists more in 
opinion than in nature, and yet the same Marius gave a proof 
that there is something very sharp in pain, for he would not 
submit to have the other thigh cut. So that he bore his 
pain with resolution as a man; but, like a reasonable person, 
he was not willing to undergo any greater pain without some 
necessary reason. The whole, then, consists in this, that you 
should have command over yourself I have already told you 
wliat kind of command this is ; and by considering what is most 
consistent with patience, fortitude, and greatness of soul, a 
■man not only restrains himself, but somehow or other miti- 
gates even pain itself 

XXIII. Even as in a battle, the dastardly and timorous 
soldier throws away his shield on \he first appearance of an 
enemy, and runs as fast as he can, and on that account loses 
his life sometimes, tliough he has never received even one 
wound, when he who stands his gi-ound has nothing of the 
s )rt happen to him; so, they who cannot bear the appear- 
ances of p.iin, throw themselves away, and give themselves up 
to affliction and dismay ; but they that oppose it, often come 
ofi' more than a match for it. For the body has a certain 


resemblance to the soul : as burdens are more easily borne 
the more the body is exerted, while they crush us if we give 
way; so the soul by exerting itself resists the whole weight 
that would oppi-ess it ; but if it yields, it is so pressed, that 
it cannot support itself And if we consider things truly, the 
soul should exert itself in every pursuit, for that is the only 
secui'ity for its doing its duty. But this should be princi- 
pally regarded in pain, that we must not do anything timidly, 
or dastardly, or basely, or slavishly, or effeminately, and 
above all things we must dismiss and avoid that Philoctetean 
sort of outcry. A man is allowed sometimes to groan, but 
yet seldom ; but it is not permissible even iu a woman to 
howl ; for such a noise as this is forbidden, by the twelve 
tables, to be used even at funerals. Nor does a wise or brave 
man ever groan, unless when he exerts himself to give his 
resolution greater force, as they who run in the stadium 
make as much noise as they can. The wrestlers, too, do the 
same when they are training; and the boxers, when they aim 
a blow with the cestus at their adversary, give a groan, not 
because they are in pain, or from a sinking of their spirits, 
but because their whole body is put upon the stretch l>y the 
throwing out of these groans, and the blow comes the 

XXIV. What ! they who would speak louder than ordi- 
nary, are they satisfied with working their jaws, sides, or 
tongue, or stretching the common organs of speech and 
utterance ? the whole body and every muscle is at full 
stretch, if I may be allowed the expression, every nerve is 
exerted to assist their voice. I have actually seen the knees 
of jMarcus Antonius touch the gi'ound when he was speaking 
with vehemence for himself, with relation to the Vai-ian law. 
For as the engines you throw stones or diirts with, throw 
them out with the greater force the more they are strainctl 
and diawn back ; so it is in speaking, running, or boxing, the 
more people strain themselves, the greater their force. Since, 
therefore, this exertion has so much influence — if in a moment 
of pain gi'oans help to strengthen the mind, let us use them; 
but if they be groans of lamentation, if they be the expression 
of weakness or abjectness, or uimianly weeping, then I should 
scarcely call him a man who yielded to them. For even 
supposing that such groaning could give any ease, it still 


Bhould be considered, whetlier it were consistent with a bravo 
and i-esolute man. But, if it does not ease our pain, why 
should we debase ourselves to no purpose ? for what is more 
unbecoming in a man than to ciy like a woman ? But thia 
precept which is laid down with respect to pain is not con- 
tiued to it; we should apply this exertion of the soul to 
everything else. Is anger inflamed ? is lust excited 1 we 
must have recourse to the same citadel, and apply to the 
same arms ; but since it is pain which we are at present dis- 
cussing, we will let the other subjects alone. To bear pain, 
then, sedately and calmly, it is of great use to consider with 
all our soul, as the saying is, how noble it is to do so, for we 
are naturally desirous (as I said before, but it caniK>t be too 
often repeated) and very much inclined to what is honour- 
able, of which, if we discover but the least glimpse, there is 
nothing which we are not prepared to undergo and sutler to 
attain it. From this impulse of our minds^ this desii'e for 
genuine glory and honourable conduct, it is that such dangers 
are supported in war, and that hraye men are not sensible of 
their wounds in action, or if they are sensible of them, prefer 
death to the departing but the least step from their honour. 
The Decii saw the shining swords of their enemies when they 
were rushing into the battle. But the honourable character 
and the glory of the death which they were seeking, made all 
fear of death of little weight. Do you imagine that Epami- 
nondas groaned when he perceived that his life was flowing 
out with his blood 1 No ; for he left his country triumphing 
over the Lacedsemonians, whereas he had found it in sub- 
jection to them. These are the comforts, these ai'e the things 
that assuage the gi'eatest pain. 

XXV. You may ask, how the case is in peace 1 what is to 
be done at home 1 how we are to behave in bed ? You bring 
me back to the pliilosophers, who seldom go to war. Among 
these, Dionysius of Heraclea, a man certainly of no resolu- 
tion, having learned fortitude of Zeno, quitted it on being in 
pain ; for, being tormented with a pain in his kidneys, in bo- 
wailing himself he cried out, that those things were false 
which he had formerly conceived of pain. And when his 
fellow-disciple, Cleanthes, asked him why he had changed his 
opinion, he answered, " That tlie case of any man wb.o liad 
applied so much time to philosophy, and yet was unable t.) 


bear pain, might be a suiTicieiit prooi that pain is an evih 
'I'hat he himself had spent many years at philosophy, and yet 
could not bear pain. It followed, therefore, that pain was an 
evil." It is reported that Cleanthes on that struck his foot 
on the ground, and repeated a verse out of the EpigoiJH) — 

Amphiaraus, hear'st thou this belcw ] 

He meant Zeno: he was sorry the other had degenerated 
from him. 

But it was not so with our friend Posidonius, whom I have 
often seen myself, and I will tell you what Pompey used to 
say of him : that when he came to Rhodes, after his departure 
from Syria, he had a great desire to hear Posidonius, but was 
informed that he was very ill of a severe fit of the gout ; yet 
he had great inclination to pay a visit to so famous a philo- 
sopher. Accordingly, when he had seen him, and paid his 
compliments, and had spoken with great respect of him, he 
said he was very son-y that he could not hear him lecture. 
But indeed you may, replied the other, nor will I suffer any 
bodily pain to occasion so great a man to visit me in vain. 
On this Pompey relates that, as he lay on his bed, he dis- 
)juted with great dignity and fluency on this very subject — 
That nothing w^as good but what was honest ; and that in his 
paroxysms he would often say, " Pain, it is to no purpose, not- 
withstanding you are troublesome, 1 will never acknowledge 
you an evil." And in general all celebrated and notorious 
afflictions become endurable by disregarding them. 

XXVI. Do we not observe, that where those exercises called 
gymnastic are in esteem, those who enter the lists never con- 
cern themselves about dangers : that where the praise of 
riding and hunting is highly esteemed, they who practise 
these arts decline no pain. "What shall I say of our own 
ambitious pursuits, or desire of honours 1 What fire have 
not candidates run through to gain a single vote 1 Therefore 
Africanus had always in his hands Xenophon, the pupil of 
Socrates, being particularly pleased with his saying, that 
the same labours were not equally heavy to the geneial and 
to the common man, because the honour itself made the 
labour lighter to the general. But yet, so it happens, that 
even with the illiterate vulgar, an idea of honoui- is of great 
influence, though they cannot understand what it is. Tl ey 


are led by report and common opinion to look on that ag 
honourable, which has the genei-al voice. Not that I would 
have you, should the multitude be ever so fond of you, rely 
on their judgment, nor approve of everything which they 
think right; you must use your own judgment. If you are 
satisfied with yourself when you have approved of what is 
right, you will not only have the mastery over yourself, 
(which I recommend to you just now,) but over everybody, 
and everything. Lay this down, then, as a rule, that a great 
capacity, and lofty elevation of soul, which distinguishes 
itself most by despising and looking down with contempt on 
pain, is the most excellent of all things, and the more so, if 
it does not depend on the people, and does not aim at ap- 
plause, but derives its satisfaction from itself. Besides, to me 
indeed everything seems the more commendable the less the 
people are courted, and the fewer eyes there are to see it. 
Not that you should avoid the public, for every generous 
action loves the public view; yet no theatre for virtue is 
equal to a consciousness of it. 

XXVII. And let this be principally considered, that this 
bearing of pain, which I have often said is to be strengthened 
by an exertion of the soul, should be the same in everything. 
For you meet with many who, through a desire of victory, 
or for glory, or to maintain their rights, or their liberty, have 
boldly received wounds, and borne themselves xvp under them ; 
and yet those very same pei'sons, by relaxing that intense- 
ness of their minds, were unequal to bearing the pain of 
a disease. For they did not support themselves under their 
former sufferings by reason or pliilosophy, but by inclination 
and glory. Therefore some barbarians anid savage people are 
able to fight very st<:»utly with the sword, but cannot bear 
sickness like men : but the Grecians, men of no great cou- 
rage, but as wise as hunian nature will admit of, cannot look 
an enemy in the face, yet the same will bear to be visited 
with sickness tolerably, and with a sufficiently manly spirit ; 
and the (Jimbrians and Celtiberians are very alert in battle, 
but bemoan themselves in sickness; for nothing can be con- 
sistent which has not reason for its foundation. But when 
you see those who are led by inclination or opinion, not 
retarded by pain in their pursuits, nor hindered by it from 
succeeding in them, you may conclude, either that pain is n.) 


evil, or that, notwithstanding you may choose to call an 
evil whatever is disagreeable and controiy to nature, yet 
it is so very trifling an evil, that it may so effectually 
be got the bkter of by virtue as quite to disappear. And 
I would have you think of this night and day; for this 
argument will spread itself, and take up more room some- 
time or other, and not be confined to pain alone; for if the 
motives to all our actions are to avoid disgi-ace and acquire 
honour, we may not only despise the stings of pain, but the 
storms of fortune, especially if we have recourse to that retreat 
which was pointed out in our yesterday's discussion : for as, 
if some God had advised a man who was pursued by pirates 
to throw himself overboard, saying. There is something at 
hand to receive you; either a dolphin will take you up, as it 
did Arion of Methymna ; or those horses sent by Neptune to 
Pelops (who are said to have carried chariots so rapidly as to 
be borne up by the waves) will receive you, and convey you 
wherever you please; cast away all fear: so, though your 
pains be ever so sharp and disagreeable, if the case is not 
such that it is worth your while to endure them, you see 
whither you may betake yourself. I think this will do for 
the present. But perhaps you still abide by your opinion. 

A. Not in the least, indeed; and I hope I am freed by 
these two days' discourses from the fear of two things that 
1 greatly dreaded. 

M. To-morrow then for rhetoric, as we were saying; but 
I see we must not drop our philosophy. 

A. No, indeed, we will have the one in the forenoon, and 
this at the usual time. 

M. It shall be so, and T will comply with your very laudable 



I. What reason shall I assign, Brutus, why, as we consist 
of mind and bod}', the art of curing and preserving the body 
should be so much sought after, and the invention of it, as 
being so useful, should be ascribed to the immortal Gods; 
bat the medicine of the mind should not have been so niuch 


the objec: of inquiry, whilst it was unknown, nor so mujh 
attended to and cultivated aftfr its discovery, nor so well 
received or approved of by some, and accoiinted actually 
disagreeable, and looked upon with an envious eye by many? 
Is it because we, by means of the mind, judge "of the pains 
and disorders of the body, but do not, by means of the body, 
an-ive at any perception of the disorders of the mind ? 
Hence it comes that the mind only judges of itself, when 
that very faculty by which it is judged is in a bad state. 
Had nature given us faculties for discerning and viewiii» 
herself, and could we go through life by keeping our eye on 
her — our best guide — there would be no reason certainly why 
any one should be in want of philosophy or learning : but, 
as it is, she has furnished us only with some feeble rays 
of light, which we immediately extinguish so completely by 
evil habits and erroneous opinions, that the light of nature 
.s nowhere visible. The seeds of virtues are natiu-al to our 
constitutions, and, were they suffered to come to maturity, 
would naturally conduct us to a happy life ; but now, as soon 
as we are born and received into the world, we are instantly 
familiarized with all kinds of depravity and perversity of 
opinions ; so that we may be said almost to suck in error 
with our nurse's milk. When we return to our parents, and 
are put into the hands of tutors and governors, we are imbued 
with so many errors, that truth gives place to falsehood, and 
nature herself to established opinion. 

II. To these we may add the poets; who, on account of 
tlie appearance they exhibit of learning and wisdom, are 
heard, read, and got by heart, and make a deep impression on 
our minds. But when to these are added the people, who are 
as it were one great body of instructors, and the multitude, 
who declare unanimously for what is wrong, then are wo 
altogether overwhelmed with bad opinions, and revolt entirely 
from nature; so that they seem to deprive us of our best 
guide, who have decided that there is nothing better for man, 
nothing more worthy of being desired by him, nothino- more 
excellent than honours and commands, and a high reputation 
with the people; which indeed every excellent man aims at; 
but whilst he pursues that only true honour, which nature 
his in view above all other objects, he finds himself Inisied iu 
arrant trifles, and in pursuit of no conspicuous form of virtue, 


but only some shadowy representation of gloiy. For glcry is 
a real and express substance, not a mere shadow. It consists 
in the united praise of good men, the free voice of those who 
form a true judgment of preeminent virtue ; it is, as it were, 
the very echo of virtue; and being generally the attendant 
on laudable actions, should not be slighted by good men. 
But popular fame, which would pretend to imitate it, is hasty 
and inconsiderate, and generally commends wicked and im- 
moral actions, and throws discredit upon the appearance and 
beauty of honesty, by assuming a resemblance of it. And it 
is owing to their not being able to discover the difference 
between them that some men, ignorant of real excellence, and 
in what it consists, have been the destruction of their country 
and of themselves. And thus the best men have erred, not so 
nmch in their intentions, as by a mistaken conduct. What, 
is no cure to be attempted to be applied to those who are 
carried away by the love of money, or the lust of pleasures, 
l)y which they are rendered little short of madmen, which is 
the case of all weak people 1 or is it because the disorder of 
the mind ai"e less dangerous than those of the body 1 or 
because the body will admit of a cure, while there is no 
medicine whatever for the mind 1 

III. But there are more disorders of the mind than of the 
body, and they are of a more dangerous nature ; for these 
very disorders are the more offensive, because they belong to 
the mind, and disturb it ; and the mind, when disordered, is, 
as Ennius says, in a constant error; it can neither bear nor 
endure anything, and is under the perpetual influence of 
desires. Now, what disorders can be worse to the body than 
these two distempers of the mind (for I overlook others), 
weakness and desire 1 But how, indeed, can it be maintained 
that the mind cannot prescribe for itself, when she it is who 
has invented the medicines for the body, when, with regard 
to bodily cm'es, constitution and nature have a gi-eat share, 
nor do all, who sutTer themselves to be cured, find that effect 
instantly ; but those minds which are disposed to be cured, 
and submit to the precepts of the wise, may undoubtedly 
recover a healthy state 1 Philosophy is certainly the medicine 
of the soul, whose assistance we do not seek from abroad, as 
in bodily disorders, but we ourselves are bound to exert our 
utmost energy and power in order to effect our cure. But as 


to pliilosophy in general, I have, I think, m my " Hortensius," 
Kufticiently spoken of the credit and attention wiiich il 
deserves : since that, indeed, I have been continually either 
disputing or writing on its most material branches : and 1 
have laid down in these books all the discussions which 
took place between myself and my particular friends at my 
Tusculan Villa : but as 1 have spoken in the two former of 
jmin and death, this book shall be devoted to the account of 
the third day of our disputations. 

We came down into the Academy when the day was already 
declining towards afternoon, and 1 asked one of those who 
were present to propose a subject for us to discourse on; nud 
then the business was carried on in this manner. 

IV. A. My opinion is, that a wise man is subject to 

M. What, and to the other perturbations of mind, as 
fears, lusts, anger 1 For these are pretty much like what the 
Greeks call TrdBrj. I might call them diseases, and that would 
be a literal translation, but it is not agreeable to our way of 
speaking. For envy, delight, and pleasure, are all called by 
the Greeks diseases, being aftections of the mind not in sub- 
ordination to reason : but we, 1 think, are right, in calling the 
same motions of a disturbed soul perturbations, and in very 
seldom using the term diseases ; though, perhaps, it appears 
otherwise to you. 

A. I am of your opinion. 

M. And do you think a wise man subject to these 1 

A. Entirely, I think. 

J/. Then that boasted wisdom is but of small account, if it 
differs so little from madness 1 

A. What ? does every commotion of the mind seem to you 
to be madness? 

M. Not to me only ; but I apprehend, though I have often 
been surprised at it, that it appeared so to our ancestors many 
ages before Socrates : from whom is derived all that philosophy 
which relates to life and morals. 

A. How so? 

M. Because the name madness' implies a sickness of the 
mind and disease, that is to say an unsoundness, and a:; 

' Iiisania— from in, a particle of negative force in composition, aaJ 
ianud, liealtby, sound. 


unhealtbiness of mind, -which they call madness. But the 
philosophers call all perturbations of the soul diseases, and 
their opinion is that no fool is ever free from these : but all 
that are diseased are unsound ; and the minds of all fools are 
diseased ; therefore all fools are mad. For they held tJiat 
soundness of the mind depends on a certain tranquillity and 
steadiness; and a mind which was destitute of these qualities 
they called insane, because soundness was inconsistent with a 
perturbed mind just as much as with a disordered body. 

V. Nor were they less ingenious in calling the state of the 
soul devoid of the light of the mind, " a being out of one's 
mind," " a being beside oneself" From whence we may 
understand, that they who gave these names to things were 
of the same opinion with Socrates, that all silly people were 
unsound, which the Stoics have carefully preserved as being 
derived from him ; for whatever mind is distempered, (and as 
I just now said, the philosophers call all perturbed motions of 
the mind distempers,) is no more sound than a body is when 
in a fit of sickness. Hence it is, that wisdom is the sound- 
ness of the mind, folly a sort of unsoundness, which is 
insanity, or a being out of one's mind : and these are much 
better expressed by the Latin words than the Greek ; which 
3'ou will find the case also in many other topics. But we will 
discuss that point elsewhere : let us now attend to our present 
subject. The very meaning of the word describes the whole 
tiling about which we are inquiring, both as to its substance 
and character. For we must necessarily understand by 
" sound," those whose minds are mider no perturbation from 
any motion as if it were a disease. They who are differently 
affected we must necessarily call " unsound." So that nothing 
is better than what is usual in Latin, to say, that they who 
are run away with by their lust or anger, have quitted the 
command over themselves; though anger includes lust, for 
anger is defined to be the lust of revenge. They, then, who 
are said not to be masters of themselves, are said to be so 
because they are not under the government of reason, to 
which is assigned by nature the power over the whole soul. 
Why the Greeks should call tliis fiavia, I do not easily appre- 
hend; but we define it much better than they, for we dis- 
tingiaish this madness (^insania), which, being allied to folly, 
is more extensive, from what we call furor, or raving. The 


Greeks indeed would do so too, but they have no one weird 
tliat will express it: what we c-d\\ furor, tliey call /xeAay^^oAta, 
as if the reason were affected only by a black bile, and not 
disturbed as often by a violent rage, or fear, or grief. Thus 
we say Atharaas, Alcmeeon, Ajax, and Orestes, were raving 
(furere) : because a person aft'ected in this manner was not 
allowed, by the twelve tables, to have the management of hia 
own affiiirs ; therefore the words are not, if he is mad {insanus), 
but, if he begins to be raving {furiosus). For they looked 
upon madness to be an unsettled humour, that proceeded 
from not being of sound mind; yet such a person might 
})eiform ills ordinary duties, and discharge the usual and 
customary requirements of life : but they considered one that 
was raving as afflicted with a total blindness of the mind, 
which, notwithstanding it is allowed to be greater than mad- 
ness, is nevertheless of such a nature, that a wise man may be 
subject to raving (furor), but cannot possibly be afflicted by 
insanity {Insania). But this is another question : let lis now 
return to our original subject. 

VI. I think you said that it was your opinion that a wise 
man was liable to grief. 

A. And so, indeed, I think. 

M. It is natural enough to think so, for we are not the off- 
spring of flints : but we have by nature something soft and 
tender in our souls, which may be put into a violent motion 
by grief, as by a storm ; nor did that Grantor, who was one of 
the most distinguished men that our Academy has ever pro- 
duced, say this amiss : " I am by no means of their opinion 
who talk so much in praise of I know not what insensibility, 
which neither can exist, nor ought to exist : I would choose," 
Rxys he, " never to be ill ; but should I be so, still I should 
choose to retain my sensation, whether there was to be an 
amputation, or any other separation of anything from my 
body. For that insensibility cannot be but at the expense of 
some unnatural ferocity of mind, or stupor of body." But let 
us consider whether to talk in this manner be not allowing 
that we are weak, and yielding to our softness. Notwith- 
standing, let us be hardy enough, not only to lop off every 
arm of our miseries, but even to pluck up every fibre of their 
roots : yet still something perhaps may be left behind, so 
deep does folly strike its roots : but whatever may be left, it 


will be no more than is necessary. But let us be persuaded 
of this, that unless the mind be in a sound state, -which philo- 
Bophy alone can effect, there can be no end of our miseries. 
Wherefore, as we begun, let us submit ourselves to it for a 
cure : we shall be cured if we choose to be, I shall advance 
something further. I shall not treat of grief alone, though 
that indeed is the principal thing ; but, as I originally pro- 
posed, of every perturbation of the mind, as I termed it, 
disorder, as the Greeks call it : and first, with your leave, I 
shall treat it in the manner of the Stoics, whose method is to 
reduce their arguments into a very small space ; afterwards I 
shall enlarge more in my own way. 

VII. A man of courage is also full of faith; I do not use 
the word confident, because, owing to an erroneous custom of 
speaking, that word has come to be used in a bad sense, 
though it is derived from confiding, which is commendable. 
But he who is full of faith, is certainly under no fear; for 
there is an inconsistency between faith and fear. Now who- 
ever is subject to grief is subject to fear; for whatever things 
we grieve at when present, we dread when hanging over us 
and approaching. Thus it comes about, that grief is incon- 
sistent with courage : it is very probable, therefore, that 
whoever is subject to grief, is ateo liable to fear, and to a 
broken kind of spirits and sinking. Now whenever these 
befal a man, he is in a ser\-ile state, and must own that he is 
overpowered : for whoever admits these feelings, must admit 
timidity and cowardice. But these cannot enter into the 
mind of a man of courage; neither therefore can gi-ief: but 
the man of courage is the only wise man; therefore gi-ief 
cannot befal the wise man. It is besides necessary, that who- 
ever is brave, should be a man of great soul ; that whoever is-' 
a man of a great soul, should be invincible : whoever is in- 
vincible looks down with contempt on all things here, and 
considers them beneath liim. But no one can despise those 
things on account of which he may be affected with grief: 
from whence it follows, that a wise man is never affected with 
grief: for all wise men are brave; therefore a wise man is not 
subject to gi'ief. And as the eye, when disordered, is not in 
a good condition for performing its office properly; and as 
the other parts, and the whole body itself, when unsettled, 
cannot perform their office and business; so the mind, whea 



disordered, is but ill-fitted to perform its duty. The office o| 
the mind is to use ita reason well; but the mind of a wise 
man is always in conditio" "to make the best use of his reason, 
and therefore is never out of order. But grief is a disorder of 
the mind; therefore a wise man will be always free from iL 

VIII. And from these considerations we may get at a vei-y 
])robalile definition of the temperate man, whom the Greeks 
call a(jj(f)po)v, and they call that virtue auif^pocrvv-qv, which I 
at one time call temperance, at another time moderation, and 
sometimes even modesty; but I do not know whether that 
virtue may not be properly called frugality, which has a more 
corifined meaning with the Greeks; for they call frugal men 
XP»;o-t/xoDs, which implies only that they are useful : but our 
name has a more extensive meaning; for all abstinence, all 
innocency, (which the Greeks have no ordinary name for, 
though they might use the word d/SXafSeia, for innocency is 
that disposition of mind which would offend no one,) and 
several other virtues, are comprehended imder frugality ; but 
if this quality were of less importance, and confined in as 
small a compass as some imagine, the surname of Piso' would 
not have been in so great esteem. But as we allow him not 
the name of a frugal man {frugl), who either quits his post 
through fear, which is cowardice; or who reserves to his own 
use what was privately committed to his keeping, which is 
injustice; or who fails in his military undertakings through 
rashness, which is folly; for that reason the word frugality 
takes in these three virtues of fortitude, justice, and pru- 
dence, though it is indeed common to all virtues, for they are 
all connected and knit together. Let us allow, then, frugality 
itself to be another and fourth virtue ; for its peculiar property 
seems to be, to govern and appease all tendencies to too eager 
a desire after anything, to restrain lust, and to preserve a 
decent steadiness in everything. The vice in contrast to this 
is called prodigality (nequitia). Frugality, I imagine, is de- 
rived from tha word fruf/e, the best thing which the earth 
produces; nequitia is derived (though this is perhaps rather 
more strained, still let us try it; we shall only be thought to 
have been trifling if there is nothing in what we say) from 
the fact of everything being to no purpose (iiequicquam) in such 

^ The man wlio first received tliis surname was L. Calpurnius; Vno, 
who was consul, b.c. 133, in the Servile War. 


a :aan; from ■wJiich circiinistance he is caller" also I-ihil 
nothing. Whoever is frugal, theu, oi", if it is more agreeable 
to you, whoever is moderate and temperate, such a one must 
of course be consistent ; whoever is consistent, must be quiet , 
the quiet man must be free from all perturbation, therefore 
from grief likewise : and these are the properties of a wise 
man; therefore a wise man must be free from grief 

IX. So that Dionysius of Heraclea is right when, upon this 
complaint of Achilles in Homer — 

Well hast thou spoke, but at the tyrant's name 
My rage rekindles, and my soul's in Hame : 
'Tis just resentment, and becomes the brave, 
Disgraced, dishonour'd like the vilest slave' — 

he reasons thus : Is the hand as it should be, when it is 
affected with a swelling ? or is it possible for any other mem- 
ber of the body, when swollen or enlarged, to be in any other 
than a disordered state 1 Must not the mind, then, wlien it is 
putfed up, or distended, be out of order 1 But the mind of a 
wise man is always free from every kind of disorder ; it never 
swells, never is puffed up : but the mind when in anger is in 
a different state. A wise man therefore is never angiy ; for 
when he is angry, he lusts after something; for whoever is 
angry naturally has a longing desire to give all the pain he 
Cixn to the person who he tliinks has injured him ; and who- 
ever has this earnest desire must necessarily be much pleased 
with the accomplishment of his wishes; hence he is delighted 
with his neighbour's misery ; and as a wise man is not capable 
of such feelings as these, he is therefore not capable of anger. 
But sliould a wise man be subject to grief, he may likewise 
be subject to anger; for as lie is free from angei', he must 
likewise be free from grief Again, could a wise man be sub- 
ject to grief, he might also be liable to pity, or even might be 
open to a disposition towards envy {invidentia) ; I do iKit 
Btxy to envy {invulia), for that can only exist by the very act 
of envying : but we may fairly form the woi"d invidentia 
from invidendo, and so avoid the doubtful name invidia ; 
for this word is probably derived from in and video, look- 

« The Greek is— 

'AWd fJiOL oibavirai KpaZit] x^^V Sttttot' iKilvov 
'^cTOfjLai '6% jx aavcprjXou eV 'ApyeloKTtu itpf^fy. — H. ix. 642. 
1 have given Pope's translation in the text. 
B B 2 


int; too closely into another's fortune; as it is said in tho 

Who envies me the flower of my children 1 
wliere the Latin is invidit Jlorem. It may appear not good 
Latin, but it is very well put by Accius; for as video governs 
an accusative case, so it is more correct to say invideo jlorem 
than fiori. We are debarred from saying so by common 
usage : the poet stood in his own right, and expressed him- 
self with more freedom. 

X. Therefore compassion and envy are consistent in the 
same man ; for whoever is uneasy at any one's adversity, is 
also uneasy at another's prosperity ; as Theophrastus while 
lie laments the death of his companion Caliisthenes, is at 
the same time disturbed at the success of Alexander; and 
therefore he says, that Caliisthenes met with a man of the 
greatest power and good fortune, but one who did not know 
how to make use of his good fortune. And as pity is an 
uneasiness which arises from the misfortunes of another, so 
envy is an uneasiness that proceeds from the good success of 
another ; therefore whoever is capable of pity, is capable of 
envy. But a wise man is incapable of envy, and consequently 
incapable of pity. But were a wise man used to grieve, to 
pity also would be familiar to him; therefore to grieve, is a 
feeling whicli cannot aftect a wnse man. Now, though these 
reasonings of the Stoics, and their conclusions, ai"e rather 
strained and distorted, and ought to be expressed in a less 
sti'ingent and narrow manner, yet great stress is to be laid on 
the opinions of those men who have a peculiarly bold and 
manly turn of thought and sentiment. For our friends the 
Peripatetics, notwithstanding all their erudition, gravity, and 
fluency of language, do not satisfy me about the moderation 
of these disorders and diseases of the soul which they insist 
upon ; for every evil, though moderate, is in its nature great. 
But our object is to make out that the wise man is free from 
all evil ; for as the body is unsound if it is ever so slightly 
affected, so the mind under any moderate disorder loses its 
soundness ; therefore the Romans have, with their usual 
accuracy of expression, called trouble, and anguish, and vexa- 
tion, on account of the analogy between a troubled mind and 
tt diseased body, disorders. The Greeks call all perturbation 
>f mind by prettv nearly the same name ; for they name ever/ 



turbid motion of the soul TrdOo<;, that is to say, a distemper. 
But we h? e given tliem a more proper namej for a disorder 
of the mind is very like a disease of tlie body. But lust doet'. 
not resemble sickness ; neither does immoderate joy, which is 
an elated and exulting pleasure of the mind. Fear, too, is 
not very like a distemper, though it is akin to grief of mind, 
but properly, as is also the case with sickness of the body, mi 
too sickness of mind has no name separated from pain. And 
tlierefore I must explain tlie origin of this pain, that is to 
say, the cause that occasions tliis grief in the mind, as if it 
were a sickness of the body. For as physicians think they 
have found out the cure, when tliey have discovered the cause 
of the distemper; so we shall discover tlie method of cm-ing 
melancholy, when the cause of it is found out. 

XL Tlie whole cause, then, is in opinion ; and this observa- 
tion applies not to this grief alone, but to every other disorder 
of the mind, which are of four sorts, but consisting of many 
parts. For as every disorder or perturbation is a motion of 
the mind, either devoid of reason, or in despite of leason, or 
in disobedience to reason, and as tliat motion is excited by an 
opinion of either good or evil ; these four perturbations are 
divided equally into two parts : for two of them proceed front 
an opinion of good, one of which is an exulting pleasure, 
that is to say, a joy elated beyond measure, arising from an 
opinion of some jn-esent great good; the other is a desire 
which may fairly be called even a lust, and is an immoderate 
inclination after some conceived great good, without any 
obedience to reason. Therefore tiiese two kinds, the exulting 
pleasure, and the lust, have their rise from an opinion of good, 
as the other two, fear and grief, have fi'om an opinion of evil. 
For fear is an opinion of some great evil impending over us, 
and grief is an opinion of some great evil present; and, 
indeed, it is a freshly conceived opinion of an evil so great, 
that to grieve at it seems right : it is of that kind, that he 
who is uneasy at it thinks he has good reason to he so. Now 
we should exert our utmost efforts to ojjpose these perturba- 
tions — which are, as it were, so many furies let loose ujion us. 
and ui-ged on by folly — if we are desiroiis to jiass this share of 
life that is allotted to us with ease and satisfaction. But of 
the other feelings I shall speak elsewhere; our business at 
present is to drive away gi-ief if we can, for that shall be the 


oliject of our present discussion, since you have said that it 
was jour opinion that a wise man might be sulrject to grief, 
whicii I can by no means allow of; for it is a frightful, 
miserable, and detestable thing, which we should fly from with 
our utmost efforts — with ail our sails and oars, as 1 may say. 

XII. That descendant of Tantalus, how does he appear to 
you? he who sprung from Pelops, who formerly stole Ilip- 
podamia from lier father-in-law, king Qilnomaus, and married 
her by force 1 He who was descended from Jupiter himself 
how broken-hearted and dispirited does he not seem ! — 

Staiiii off, my friends, nor come wiiliin my shade, 
That no pollutions your sound hearts pervade. 
So foul a stain my hody doth partake. 
Will you condemn yourself, Thyestes, and deprive yourself of 
life, on account of the gi-eatness of another's crime ? What 
do you think of that son of Phoebus'? do you not look upon 
him as unworthy of his own father's light 1 
Hollow his eyes, his body worn away, 
His fnrrow'd cheeks his frequent tears betray; 
His beard neglected, and his hoary hairs 
IJou'^h and uncoml/d, bespeak his bitter cares. 
foolish ^etes, these are evils which you yourself have been 
the cause of, and ai-e not occasioned by any accidents with 
which chance has visited you ; and you behaved as you did, 
even after you liad been imu-ed to your distress, and after the 
first swelling of the mind had subsided ! whereas grief con- 
sists (as I shall show) in the notion of some recent evil ; but 
your grief, it is very plain, proceeded fi'om the loss of your 
kingdom, not of your daughter, for you hated her, and 
perhaps with reason, but you Cduld not caliuly bear to part 
with 3'our kingdom. But surely it is an impudent grief 
which preys upon a man for not being able to command 
those that are free. Dionysiiis, it is true, the tyrant of 
Syracuse, when driven from his country taught a schocl at 
Coriuth ; so incapable was he of living without some autho- 
rity. But what could be more impudent than Tarquin ? 
who made war upon those who could not bear his tymuny; 
and when he could not recover his kingdom by the aid of the 
forces of the Veieutians and the Latins, is said to have 
betaken himself to Cuma, and to have died m that city, of 
old age and grief ! 

XIII. Do you, then, think that it can "jefal a wise man to 


be oppressed with grief, tliat is to say, with misery 1 for, as 
all perturbation is misery, gi'ief is the rack itself. Lust is 
attended with heat, exulting joy with levity, fear with mean- 
ness, but grief witli something gi-eater than these: it con- 
sumes, torments, afflicts, and disgraces a man ; it tears him, 
preys upon his mind, and utterly destroys him : if we do 
not' so dpv-est ourselves of it as to throw it completely olF, we 
cannot be free from misery. And it is clear that there must 
be grief where anything has the appearance of a present sore 
and oppressing evil. Epicurus is of opinion, that grief arises 
naturally from the imagination of any evil ; so that whosoever 
is eye-witness of any gi'eat misfortune, if he conceives that 
the like may possibly befal himself, becomes sad instantly 
from such an idea. The Cyrenaics think that grief is not 
engendered by every kind of evil, but only by unexpected, 
unforeseen evil ; and that circumstance is, indeed, of no small 
effect on the heightening of gi-ief ; for whatsoever comes of a 
sudden appeai-s more formidable. Hence these lines are de- 
servedly commended — 

I knew my son, when first he drew his breath, 

Destined by fate to an untimely death ; 

And when I sent him to defend the Greeks, 

War was his business, not yonr sportive freaks. 

XIV. Therefore, this ruminating beforehand upon future 
evils which you see at a distance, makes their approach more 
tolerable; and on this account, what Euripides makes 
Theseus say, is much commended. You will give me leave 
to translate them, as is usual with me — 

1 treasured up what some learn'd sage did tell, 

And on my future misery did dwell ; 

I thought of bitter death, of being drove 

Far from my home by exile, and I strove 

■\Vith every evil to possess my mind, 

That, when they came, I the less care might find.* 

But Euripides says that of himself, which Theseus said he 
had heard from some learned man, for the poet had been a 

' This is from the Theseus — 

'£701 5e TovTO irapa ao<pov rivos uadwv 
els (ppovTi^as voi/v crvixcpooas t e0a\\ofn]i' 
(pvyds r' efj^auio) irpoaTtB^ls irarpas fIJ-Vi- 
6avarovs t' awpovs, koI KaKiiv a\.^as bZovi 
d'S, €1 Ti Trd(T\OLfj.' (Mv i^i't^a^ov irore 
Vlr) (JLUi vfoprov Trpocirecbj' fj.aWoy SaKOl. 


pupil of Anaxagoras, who, as they relate, on hearing of the 
death of his son, said, " I knew that my son was mortal;" 
which speech seems to intimate that such things afflict those 
men who have not thought on them before. Therefore, there 
is no doubt but that all those tilings which aro considered evils 
are the heavier from not being foreseen. Though, notwith- 
standing this is not the only circumstance which occasions 
the greatest grief, still, as the mind, by foreseeing and pre- 
paring for it, has great power to make all grief the less, a 
man should at all times consider all the events that may 
befal him in this life; and certainly the excellence and divine 
nature of wisdom consists in taking a near view of, and 
gaining a thorough ac(]uaintance with, all human affairs, in 
not being surprised when anything happens, and in thinking, 
before the event, that there is nothing but what may come 
to pass. 

Wherefore ev'iy lEan, 
When his affairs go on most swimmingly. 
E'en then it most helioves to arm himself 
Against the coming storm : loss, danger, exile, 
Returning ever, let him look to meet ; 
His son in fault, wife dead, or daughter sick : 
All common accidents, and may have happen'd. 
That nothing shall seem new or strange. But if 
Aught has fall'n out beyond his hopes, all that 
Let him account clear gain.^ 

XV Therefore, as Terence has so well expressed what he 
borrowed from philosophy, shall not we, from whose fountains 
he drew it, say the same thing in a better manner, and abide 
by it with more steadiness 1 Hence came that steady coun- 
tenance, which, according to Xantippe, her husband Socrates 
always had; so that she said that she never observed any 
difference in his looks when he went out, and when he came 
home. Yet the look of that old Roman, M. Crassus, who, as 
Lucilius says, never smiled but once in his lifetime, was not 
of this kind, but placid and serene, for so we are told. He, 
indeed, might well have had the same look at all times who 
never changed his mind, from which the countenance derives 
its expression. So that I am ready to borrow of the Cyre- 
naics those arms against the accidents and events of life, by 
means of which, by long premeditation, tliey break the foroa 
1 Ter. Phorra. II. i. 11. 

02,- GRIEF OF 5II^^^. 377 

of al- approaching evils ; anc a^ the sarnE tiaie, T think that 
tho^e very evils themselves arise more from opinion than 
nature, for, if they were real, no forecast could make them 
lighter. But I shall speak more particularly on these 
matters after I have first considered Epicurus's opinion, who 
thinks that all people must necessarily be uneasy who believe 
themselves to be in any evils, let them be either foreseen and 
expected, or habitual to them ; for, with him, evils are not 
the less by reason of their continuance, nor the lighter for 
having been foreseen ; and it is folly to ruminate on evils to 
come, or such as, perhaps, never may come ; every evil ia 
disagreeable enough when it does come ; but he who is con- 
stantly considering that some evil may befal him, is loading 
himself with a perpetual evil, and even should such evil 
never liglit on him, he voluntarily takes upon himself imne- 
cessary misery, so that he is under constant uneasiness, 
whetlier he actually suffers any evil, or only thinks of it. But 
he makes the alleviation of grief depend on two thing-s, a 
ceasing to think on evil, and a turning to the contemplation 
of pleasure. For he thinks tliat the mind may possibly be 
under the power of reason, and follow her directions ; he 
forbids us, therefore, to mind trouble, and calls us off from 
sorrowful reflections : he throws a mist over our eyes to 
hinder us from the contemplation of misery. Having sounded 
a retreat from this statement, he drives our thouglits on 
again, and encourages them to view and engage the whole 
mind in the various pleasures with which he thinks the life 
of a wise man abounds, either from reflecting on the past, or 
from the hope of what is to come. I have said these thing-3 
in my own way, the Epicureans have theirs : however, let us 
examine what they say; how th